Legally Blonde

⭐⭐⭐½ based on 1 review.

tl;dr: Feeling a little dated, but still a fun (and funny) movie with an incredibly strong aesthetic.


Spoilers Ahead: My reviews are not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

After a busy (and long) day, we wanted something popcorn-friendly to wind down to, and Legally Blonde fit the bill. Bizarrely, I'm not certain I've ever seen the original before, and spent the entire time slightly wishing we were watching the sequel (which I'm pretty sure I first saw in the cinema 😅). It's not that the original is bad, but I found myself less interested in Elle's journey from sorority queen to competent adult, and wanting more courtroom twists and actual legal drama. Elle herself was also quite a lot less believable as a person than I remember; there are strong undertones of Margo Robbie's Barbie on show here, just without the slow dawning self-realisation that film provided.

Instead, Elle doesn't really change all that much. She clearly shows herself to be a master of adaptation, and to the film's credit, she is never shown to be acting dumb or frustrated by her studies. Nor do her image-obsessed friends try to hold her back, dumb her down, or ostracise her for suddenly wanting to become academic. It's an extremely refreshing touch and a large part of the reason that the film still feels relevant. Are there a few moments where jokes feel a little cringey today? Sure, but there's nothing too problematic. In fact, the most problematic element of the movie is likely that the slur "dyke" doesn't appear to have affected its rating, which seems unreal – though, to be clear, this isn't used as a targeted slur in the film, but rather another moment for Elle to break expectations and take the high road. That or how clear the film is that she only gets enrolled at Harvard because the entire senior faculty are thirsty for her 😬

It is also deeply confusing what age Elle is meant to be. Perhaps if you're American this is clearer, but I'm gathering that Harvard Business School is effectively Masters-level education, and basically requires you to have a degree prior to attending? The film seems to initially be set up for her love interest to be a high school sweetheart, except the idea that you would have sorority culture at that age (or that they'd be drinking and having sex so much at that age, for a film as kid friendly as this) seems deeply disturbing, so I'm assuming the opening act takes place at another university as part of a bachelor's degree and they're all in their early 20's? So long as that is the case, the rest seems okay. And yes, the film hides the lewder parts of youth culture, but only from kids. Innuendos are used well (and sparingly) to ensure that Elle does at least come across as slightly adult, not entirely wide-eyed innocence.

The result is a deeply sanitised and parodied snapshot of '90s/'00s teen culture. Here, the set and costume design shine. Frankly, they're incredible! From fluffy pink "wireless" phones to sequinned blazers, Elle's fashion sense is absurd in all of the right kind of ways (though I do think they could have had a little more fun with her mortarboard or something in the final scene). Narratively, the core plot is nothing too special, but it's well paced, has plenty of heartfelt beats, and takes some unusual risks with side stories that serve to really drive home Elle's solidity of character. Yes, the court case is ridiculously tailor-made for her skill set and life experience, but that's part of the fun. Reese Witherspoon brings an innocent, intelligent charm to the character that makes the whole absurd plot line shine, and the supporting cast ham up their roles in exactly the way you want them to. It's cheesey, corny, heartfelt fun, and it knows that, plays into it, and pulls it off as a result.

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Deployment: GitHub

Hosting: Netlify

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