Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pretty Woman (1990)

        In the movie trailer for the Touchstone Pictures sensation, Pretty Woman, the devices ethos and pathos are used to grab the viewers’ attention. The first thing I hear is Julia Roberts talking about the fairy tale she has dreamed about since childhood. She is extremely detailed with the story that the audience can actually picture the scene. This use of imagery draws at one's senses; causing one to become interested in what is to come next. There is not one little girl that has not at least heard of the Disney princess stories and their basic storyline. This truly is a fairy tale story of a poor woman being saved by her “Prince Charming.” Everyone can relate to the desire for someone to love them and want to be with them for who they are. Director Garry Marshall uses pathos to generate the emotion of love for the audience. This brings about the romantic aspect of the movie. However, there is a wide range of emotions throughout the trailer besides just love. Pathos also comes into account through Julia Roberts in tears, laughter, and excitement. You feel for the character because the producer is portraying the one in a million chance of a multi-millionaire falling in love with a poor girl basically living on the streets. 
        Louis Giannetti, in the book Understanding Movies, says, "Good looks and sex appeal have always been the conspicuous traits of most film stars" (pg.251, 2). The sex appeal of Julia Roberts brings in the male audience. She plays a seductive role from the start by wearing skimpy clothing and acting as if she is promiscuous. Red lip gloss and luminous flowers behind Julia Roberts add to her visual appeal. We learned that cool colors bring out a positive vibe, while colors such as red can be a sign for danger. The red lips in this case could tell the audience that this love story may have some bumps along the way. Richard Gere portrays every woman’s dream man, possibly causing the audience to have a feeling of jealousy that Robert’s stole him. Both Richard Gere and Julia Roberts were attractive and Roberts was an up and coming star at this point in her career. Together they make quite the duo that will have viewers on the edges of their seats in eager to see what these two will bring to the table.
        Humor is slipped into the trailer through quirkiness and extravagant emotions. One instance is at the polo match when she yells “whoop whoop” with her fist in the air. The comic scenes shown in the trailer help sell the movie to the audience. The director decides to use well-known name brands such as Chanel and Gucci to show the viewer this guy is the “real deal.” He can afford the most expensive clothing and jewelry, giving him the credibility of a successful business man. In addition, the camera shows the Beverly Hills sign at the beginning when they drive off. This shows that the area he is visiting is five-star. The reason these items are important is because they give Richard Gere's character credibility. The movie’s credibility also comes from Julia Roberts. Although this is one of her first big hits, Louis Gianetti points out that, "she really shines in comedies, where her acting style is so spontaneous it hardly looks like she's working" (pg.284, 1). The audience can see this in the few scenes from the hotel and polo match. She brightens the mood causing viewers to become happy. This is also helpful in establishing pathos. In the book, Everything's an Argument, Andrea Lunsford and John Ruszkiewicz explain, "It's important to regard any rhetorical situation as dynamic, since each element of it has the potential to affect all the other elements" (pg.35, 2). This is the case in this romantic comedy because the use of each different element attracts a broader audience. For example, if Garry Marshall decided to only show the romantic scenes between Roberts and Gere it is likely that most male viewers would decide against seeing the movie.  

Sources: Giannetti, Louis D. “The American Star System.” Understanding Movies 12th edition. NJ: Pearson, 2011. P.251 Print.

Lunsford, Andrea A., and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Everything's an Argument: With Readings. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010. Print.


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