Analysis of Legally Blonde
Legally blonde details the transformation of Elle Woods, a supposed empty head to a successful student of law. It throws light upon the impediments she faces, while also providing valuable life lessons to the viewers. On a superficial level, it is a film of hearts and heels, of stereotypical blondes (and sometimes, brunettes) and frivolity. It fulfils all the checkboxes that guarantee it to be slotted under the category of chick-flick, but in reality, it is so much more than that. It gives us an idea of the subtle, yet hurtful discrimination that she faces, and how she manages to withstand it in an admirable fashion.
Elle Woods is a typical high society girl. She is introduced through her hair and varnish, through manicured feet in pink platforms with heart shaped clasps before we actually see her face. When revealed, it is guileless- surprising for someone who is considered to be the queen of collecting men’s hearts. She is part of a sorority known as the Delta Nu, notorious for hosting only the prettiest, most popular, empty-headed, but nevertheless, well meaning girls available within a twenty mile radius. Elle is the exception, having achieved a four point zero grade point average, the highest in her sorority. She harbours dreams of getting engaged to her boyfriend slash cheating scumbag Warner Huntington the Third, who is a law student at Harvard. Warner Huntington the Third is also one of the most common type of males one finds everywhere; the type who judges the opposite sex without looking in a mirror first- thus also speaking volumes about the errors of Elle’s judgement. Even if I could concede that the character has some plus points; like a firm jaw and a reasonable hair line, his utter disregard for Elle is putting off.
Elle is myopic in the sense that she fails to see the true nature of the “love of her life” –as she tells her parents. Since in Warner’s words, “If I have to be a senator by the time I’m thirty, I need to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn”, she decides that the only way she can get him back is to ace the LSAT’s and go to Harvard.( On a side note, the “Jackie” is a woman named Vivian.) I was surprised she didn’t try to dye her hair the lush colour of walnut shells first. The fact that Harvard has the most selective acceptance rate is beside the point. This is perhaps reflective of the naiveté that she exudes; for someone who was homecoming queen she lacks a certain worldly wisdom. But perhaps this naiveté is camouflage for a woman of substance and substantial intellectual power. Her parents too, are a little eccentric; especially her father, in context that he always has a martini with a olive clasped in his palm, whether it be a poolside, or his daughters graduation (how he manages to sneak in alcohol at a graduation is somewhat beside me)
The film presents a lot of themes- the themes that we hear every day from counsellors and parents, but are nevertheless important to succeed in life. Elle is a shining example – we must trust in ourselves. We must have faith in ourselves, because if we don’t take ourselves seriously, then who will? Elle’s closest friends are shocked when they walk in on her reading books, but with her natural sweetness and courage of conviction, Elle manages to win them over, and even help her with the preparations. So what if the Delta Nu are known for what they’ve got going downstairs rather than upstairs? Elle is an individualist; out to blaze a path for herself.
This individuality is evident in many aspects. In Law School,; for people wandering around in dark colours like grey and black, and the occasional green- but appropriately dull, she, with her pink, scented resume and lack of cynicism is an immediate misfit, and it reveals to us that deep rooted bias in human psyche; that pretty girls who are crowned homecoming queens are generally considered to be feather brained, though that is no excuse for showing up in a court of law in a hot pink dress with purple collars, and a bag with a pesky Chihuahua named Bruiser, to boot.
In this film, all the themes link together in one person- Elle. She is an individualist because she is determined to be successful without changing herself, though that could be because she lives in a dream-world of her own where everyone is happy and nice to each other and rides pink mares into a purple sunset. She is sure of herself, and disproves the theory that one can only be one of two- smart or pretty, in context of being groomed all the time with a perfect hair do, a mani-pedi, and whatnot. She manages to make notes while she is getting highlights in her hair. Initially, though her contemporaries are dismissive of her and snub her- a sudden role reversal of the social hierarchy in high school as depicted in films- they warm up to her and see the error of their ways. The film culminates in them having graduated, with Elle as the class elected speaker and Vivian as her best friend. Warner gets what was coming to him; he graduated with no honours, no job offers and no girlfriend. Thus, apart from being an incredibly entertaining film that provides prospective ideas on how to “creatively” present an admissions essay, it is also heartfelt and true; and everyone gets their just deserts.
The name “Elle” also happens to mean “woman”. And that is true about her. Despite the blonde-ness (pun intended) and the pink, and the assets –which anyone can get at a decent plastic surgeon, a hairstylist and shopping mall- at her very core that’s what she happens to be. One hundred percent woman. And who said women can’t run the world? (Over to you Beyonce)