Portrayal of Social Conflict in America through the movie.
The popular romantic comedy Pretty Woman, directed by Gary Marshall is a story of how members of two different social classes meet and are forced to learn about each other's way of life. Edward, (Richard Gere) is the upper-class businessman who coincidentally meets Vivian, (Julia Roberts), a lower-class prostitute, while trying to find his way back to his hotel after a fancy gathering of co-workers and other members of his elite society. After staying with Edward for a period of time, Vivian becomes assimilated into his upper-class way of life. While Vivian is learning how to fit into the upper echelons of society, Edward also learns how life is for the lower class. Many aspects of social stratification are presented throughout the movie, such as class-consciousness and networking within groups high-brow (predominantly) white men. Similarly, the director utilizes modalities such as setting and dialogue to portray social differences between Edward and Vivian. .
The difference between social classes in Pretty Woman is obvious from the beginning. The immediate contrast between settings at the opening of the movie immediately let the audience know that social and economic status will be a prevalent theme throughout the film. This is exemplified at the beginning of the movie, when Edward attends a party, where everyone is well dressed and well mannered. These people, consisting of mostly businessmen and their wives (all of whom are wealthy), sip wine and discuss business transaction with a leisurely malaise. Edward leaves the party, and expensive cars are shown in valet parking outside of the host's house. The combination of expensive cars, setting and costume selection in this scene allows the audience to conclude that Edward is a member of elite society. .
In the scene that immediately follows, Vivian's side of town is shown.