Journal of English Teaching through Movies and Media 2014;15(3):107-127.
Published online December 30, 2014.
The re-interpretation of Pretty woman in the historical context
Sung sik Suh
역사적 맥락에서 영화 귀여운 여인 다시 보기
The purpose of this article is to reinterpret a famous movie Pretty Woman in the historical context. Pretty Woman was a box office smash hit in 1990. Its theme is similar to the fairy tale Cinderella and the main characters in it have parallel counterparts in Cinderella. Edward, who is a rich handsome male and suddenly falls in love with a beautiful but poor lady, is a Price Charming. Vivian, who is rescued from her miserable situation by a millionaire, is Cinderella. In interpreting this movie in this way, many people tend to focus only on the heroine, not on the hero. However, this kind of interpretation is a result of missing one important element: historical context. When seen in the historical background, this movie reveals a hidden fact that it is not about a sudden change of a lady's economic or social status but about the challenge or question of material success itself. To understand this movie better in the context of history, we had better focus on the male character Edward. He is a corporate raider who is making a huge amount of fortune but is unhappy and lonely. His relations with his wife and his father are totally broken in spite of his large wealth. Edward represents many people in 1980s who gained huge amount of money but were not happy at all. On the other hand, Vivian represents people who were struggling for material success but did not accomplish it yet. This was a situation that many people in the 1980s American society began to face. When we consider this historical context and view this movie again, then our interpretation will be drastically changed.
Key Words: Pretty Woman;Cinderella;American dream;historical context
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