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Why “Legally Blonde” is (Almost) Everything Right with Cinema

So uh, why am I blogging hardcore about a movie that came out in 2001?Couple reasons.

We’re getting a third one. Someone wrote their dissertation on it. And I finally got my boyfriend to watch it with me. All equally as important as the other.

Also, I love this movie so much. I really do.

Fellow fans of “The Office” will have every right to mock me. That’s fair. But it’s totally a desert island movie pick.

Source: https://plbz.it/2Lvyc6p

“Legally Blonde” was empowering and cool before I knew what any of those words meant. I saw it as a young kid. It’s inspiring. All kids should watch it. And all adults.

But, alas, no movie is perfect (with the exception of “Jonas Brothers; the 3D Concert Experience”). So let’s quickly dissect where a good movie hit the wrong notes.

(P.S. If you’ve never seen this movie in your life, read the wiki plot and then join me Friday for a movie night and we’ll right this wrong)

THE BAD

THE PORTRAYAL OF ENRIQUE

Oy vey. I know that this was the early 2000’s, before gay marriage was even legalized, but come on. Enrique is so stereotypically written as a gay man it gives me hives. Elle realizing he’s gay because he called her shoes “last season”? Give me a break.

Some might argue that just having a gay man in this film is huge. I’ll allow it. I just wish he could’ve been written in as “lying on the witness stand, and also gay” instead of “lying on the witness stand because gay.”

Hell, the writer’s could’ve probably worked in Elle’s fashion sense to clue her in that Enrique is lying. I dunno, maybe that the item of clothing he claims is his uniform is actually low-viscosity rayon which is completely unideal for a pool. Then there’d be that tie-in from before and all that someone in Hollywood please hire me as a screenwriter thank you.

PROFESSOR STROMWELL’S MESSAGE TO ELLE

​I both love and question this scene that takes place towards the end of the movie. Elle is saying her goodbyes to Paulette and throws in “to hell with law school,” for good measure. Then, Stromwell enters the frame and imparts these words…

Source: https://plbz.it/2Lhu9ey

When I first heard it, I won’t lie, I found it empowering. And I still do. Whenever I’m in a rough situation, Stromwell reappears to ask if I’m gonna let this stupid shit ruin my life.

But that’s me. My concern is that someone who has experience assault or harassment may find this statement to point toward victim-blaming. It’s on you to move forward, not the stupid prick who did a bad thing.

I’m almost positive that wasn’t the message the movie was trying to get across. More like, “Use your wits and hit him where it hurts.” It still bugs me.

THE GOOD

ELLE IS A ROLE MODEL

Elle is what every parent wants their kid to be; good student, kind, loyal friend and ambitious. I goddam love it.

She never does anything sneaky or evil to get what she wants. She never breaks the law or hijacks a car or whatever other movie trope I’ve earthed from years of movie watching.

She’s just a good person. The kind of good you’d want to emulate. That’s rad as hell.

ELLE IS MORE THAN ONE CHARACTER TRAIT

This is a movie trope that drives me batty. A character is “smart” OR “pretty.” She’s “girly” OR “athletic.” Imagine a character who has more than one defining trait = awesome movie, but Hollywood has yet to catch on completely.

Elle is a total girly-girl. Cosmo is her bible. Anything pink finds its way to her. She’s a walking encyclopedia of all things haircare, makeup and fashion.

And she’s brilliant.

She gets into Harvard Law by being exactly who she is; smart and girly. Witty and fashionable. Clever and extra.

And the best part… she never changes any of that to succeed.

Another movie trope gripe; when they take the glasses off the nerd and suddenly they’re hot. I hate that. #1 glasses are adorable, and #2 how can they see? Especially if their prescription strength requires glasses.

Elle never sheds the pink to be a badass law student. If anything, she embraces it.

The lesson…

Just be yourself.

​(Thanks, Mr. Rogers.)

EMMETT BELIEVES ELLE

This movie was #MeToo before its time. Elle tells Emmett that Callahan tried to feel her up, and Emmett full-stop believes her. He didn’t say, “Are you sure that he wasn’t just giving your leg a new age handshake?” or “You are wearing pink… kinda asking for it.” or “A guy like him could date any woman, you really think you’re so great?” or any other variation of “I don’t believe you.”

I also like that he shuts down Vivian when she jokes about it. Emmett’s not here for your shit. Emmett’s got a plot to enact.

Then he shows Callahan up. It’s awesome.

NOBODY LIKES WARNER

I kinda sympathize with him in the beginning, because he obviously has a lot of family pressure on his shoulders. But he’s just such an ass.

Remember this scene?

Oh really, Warner? Elle isn’t smart enough? Elle got a fucking 179 on her LSAT, do you know how tough that is to get? 

Also, you got wait-listed, loser. Your dad had to make a call.

Anyone else feel like they know a Warner? Someone who got into some prestigious place, thinks it was all they’re doing when really it was a family member’s pull who got them there? I feel like they’re everywhere.

Either way, it’s cool that Warner was the bad guy from the get go. I dig it.

ELLE DOESN’T NEED A MAN

Speaking of Warner…

If I may, let this scene inspire you.

Source: https://bit.ly/2uScgYV

REPRESENTATION IS EVERYWHERE

Enid Wexler is the exact kind of badass lesbian activist that you want to organize a drunk driving protest march. Don’t @ me.

Enrique aside, I think it’s cool that “Legally Blonde” has a cast from a wide ranges of backgrounds.

There’s Paulette, who dropped out of high school and thinks she doesn’t amount to much. But by the end of the movie, she’s found her self esteem and happiness.

Then there’s the Honorable Judge Marina R. Bickford, a black female judge who decides the fate of one of the highest profile cases of the year. This is especially significant for numerical reasons.

From 1789 to the present, there have been a total of 3619 federal judges. Black female judges make up just 1.5%. So having Judge Bickford was huge. I hope it inspired young girls to consider the legal profession. 

WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN

This is a plot line that we (thankfully) have started to see more and more of, and it’s awesome. 

Elle supports Paulette to get her dog back from her ex in what may be one of the greatest movie moments ever.

Well, that and Elle teaching everyone the bend and snap. What a confidence builder.

Brooke believes in Elle’s abilities so much that she fires the top district attorney in the state so Elle can represent her. Way to tell Callahan to shove it, Brooke.

And it’s so cool that Elle and Vivian become friends instead of mortal enemies over a guy. It leads us to one of the best endings a movie could ask for.
Source: https://bit.ly/2uScgYV

So on that note, I’d like to leave you with Elle at her finest… using her vast knowledge to solve a murder trial. Bad ass. Enjoy…

What’s your favorite part about “Legally Blonde”? Tell me in the comments!

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Maggie Stanton is an MBA grad with great hair and an average personality.

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