I thought it apt that the first film I review for ‘Indulge’ should be the film I simply adore the most, as opposed to a recent release showing at your local moving picture house. One hopes you are not awfully disappointed. Indulge me, I implore you.
Many moons ago whilst treading the boards in rather fetching tights with Kenneth Brannagh and Emma Thompson at the Royal Shakespeare Company, we would have the most wonderful discussions about our favourite films whilst we were backstage. I would always impress them with titles they had never heard of; black and white subtitled art house films from Japan, Finland or sometimes even deepest, darkest Peru. Just a soupçon pretentious, I know. In my defence, this was decades before people like Richard Curtis were leading the way in romantic comedies. However, as the leading roles faded away, and I started to land all the parts that would have been offered to Richard Griffiths, were the dear chap still alive, I became more honest with myself. So, trumpets please darlings. It gives me great pleasure to begin my days reviewing films for all you beautiful people by declaring to the world that my all-time favourite film is Pretty Woman. There I said it. Pleasure-oh yes. Guilty-not a jot.
What’s not to love? It’s Cinderella for the ’90s. And we all love a good fairytale. Admittedly, we have a foul-mouthed-flame-haired-sassy-street-walker as Cinders instead of a blonde wallflower, and a hard-nosed businessman instead of Prince Charming, but hey, it’s a tale as old as time, as they say. And it is a tale I have indulged in millions of times, I do not exaggerate. My original VHS copy wore out in weeks. If they were to consider a remake tomorrow, I know the lines so well I could film Julia Roberts’ part quicker than a sulky rider can woof down ten pastizzi I can tell you. Since first viewing, Vivienne’s tropes sneakily found their way into my lexicon. If ever I am in a lift with an elderly couple, you will need to be quick as a fish my dear to stop me from sliding up beside the gentleman and whispering seductively in my best American accent, “Fifty bucks Grandpa. For seventy-five, the wife can watch”.
Getting through life the best one can, with humour and grace is the lesson Vivienne taught me. And it is one that has served me well dear readers. That, and not settling for second best, “I want the fairytale” she declares. And she was right. We all want the fairytale, no? There is a little known fact about Pretty Woman, but one I think says so much about human nature. The original script was much darker than the film that ensued. It wasn’t written as a romantic comedy at all. In fact, the original version ended with Edward returning to New York leaving Vivienne in Los Angeles, heartbroken and defeated. DO NOT REPEAT THIS, but my agent Marjorie once told me in strictest confidence that barrel fulls of writers and directors came and went until just like Edward on the night he first encounters Vivienne, we were finally given our own happy ending.
Let us dim the lights, pour a glass of tawny port, open a decent camembert, and attempt to get serious for a minute, shall we? You’re with me, marvellous. As much fun as it is to watch, and it is, I assure you. If you haven’t seen it, I beseech you to do so before we meet again. I’m not sure our friendship will stand the test of time if not. I digress again, forgive me. I do it an awful lot, you will get used to it. Brownie’s Honour. Back to the serious part. Hidden within the pages of a love story Pretty Woman offers us a wonderful life lesson that comes from Edward. Indulgence is wonderful, and indeed at times even necessary I would wager, but how much is enough? At what point will you be satisfied with what you have? Will you always want more? These are all questions that will arise throughout our lives my darling people, and they are important. Ignore them at your peril. But what do I know? As I type this there is a deliveryman downstairs waiting to be buzzed in with another silk dressing gown from New & Lingwood, so maybe I ought to watch it again.
God Save the Queen. Lord bless you all. Same time next week time fellow film lovers.