Directed by Robert Luketic, Legally Blonde is a film about a stereotypical valley girl, born into a rich family, used to getting everything she wants, and then breaking molds to prove she can rise above society’s expectations of privileged kids. Elle Woods, the main character and heroine of the story, is a wealthy and beautiful young girl from Malibu. She is the president of her sorority and she adores all things pink and fashionable. Her boyfriend Warner is a type-cast pretty boy who happens to be the president of his fraternity, and they are seemingly the perfect match.
Elle believes it’s time for Warner to pop the question and she gets prepared for the big date. However, rather than proposing, Warner breaks up with her because he is going to law school and he needs a serious girlfriend. Heartbroken, Elle decides she is Harvard material and she sets out to be accepted to the Ivy League’s law program in an effort to win Warner back and prove that she is good enough for his blue blood expectations (IMDb). In the process, Elle learns more about herself and her capabilities than she ever thought possible, all while staying true to her natural blonde roots.
The film is the perfect layout for a classic hero, or heroine, and a journey of epic proportions. We begin with an introduction of our heroine within the comforts of her normal world. Elle is rich, beautiful and blonde. She is the president of Delta Nu, the most desired sorority at her college. She is a Hawaiian Tropic girl. She is featured in the campus calendar as Miss June, and she is Cosmo girl through and through. Her hair neatly styled, her nails always perfect, and her outfits the latest trends. She is fully content in her Malibu world.
Elle is loved by all of her sorority sisters, and most of all, by her boyfriend Warner. The film follows their preparation for a special date, one in which Elle believes Warner will propose. She is thrilled, and she spends extra time getting herself dolled up for the occasion. Together at a fancy restaurant, Elle is caught up the moment and eagerly waits for the big question. And just when Warner is about to ask, he shocks her by ending their relationship. Warner is going off to law school and he wants a serious girlfriend who is more than just a beach Barbie.
Elle is crushed, but this event is what serves as her call to adventure. Elle, our heroine, has been confronted with a serious challenge, or rather adventure. After weeks of moping and feeling sorry for herself and refusing to even get out of bed, she decides that her love and desire for Warner are worth fighting for. She knows that if she wants him back, she has to become what he now desires, and prove that she is worthy wife material. Though she actually doesn’t refuse the call, her closest friends and family actually refuse it for her.
She is in her element in her sorority in tropical Malibu, with everything handed to her on a silver platter. But Cambridge, Harvard, law school? No one seems to take her seriously, and they don’t think she can do it. From details we have been shown it the film thus far, we see that Elle is quite clever and is willing to give 110% to a challenge. Now she accepts the biggest challenge of her life. Though her sorority sisters have doubt, Elle skips the parties and the carefree escapades of her previous life and she hits the books.
After hard work and late nights for studying, Elle passes the LSAT and gets accepted to Harvard law school (Jerome). Though overcoming a huge challenge in proving herself Ivy League material, Elle’s adventure has just begun. She is not the typical law student, nerdy and studious. She is brightly dressed, peppy and west coast blonde. She has stepped into the special world of law school and her journey begins. Once she crosses the threshold, she is faced with challenges and she struggles with connecting in that world (Lenihan). After a particularly stressful day, she just gets in her car and goes for a drive.
Spotting a nail salon, she goes inside for a manicure, desperate for a taste of the comforts from her normal world. She meets a friend who encourages her to keep going. Faced with yet another setback, Elle discovers that Warner has become engaged to his old prep school sweetheart, Vivian. She is intelligent and comes from an important and noble family time. They immediately becomes enemies. She even gets challenged in one of her first classes, getting kicked out for being unprepared (Lenihan). But she doesn’t back down. Starting to catch on, Elle still is tested but begins to hold her own.
She also begins to work with a lawyer who serves as a helper, or mentor for her journey. She steps into the big leagues and has the chance to show her skills, and Warner has front row tickets to watch her shine. Chosen for an associate seat in a real murder case, Elle is challenged again by the lead attorney. Accused of coming as far as she has only because of her money and looks, Elle is confronted inappropriately and resigns her seat on the case. She is even tempted to quit law school altogether (Jerome). She has arrived at the innermost cave of her journey and she needs help.
Her mentor offers words of encouragement and shows Elle that she made it this far on her own, and she is capable of seeing it to the finish. Her determination renewed, Elle returns to the case and is made lead defense with the support of her mentor. She now faces the supreme ordeal. She is tasked with defending her client, accused of murder, and clearing her good name. Though not faced with death herself, the heroine must prevent a life sentence from her charge. She is visibly nervous and unsure of herself, and seems to be failing in her argument.
But then she steels herself and discovers they key to her client’s innocence. She seizes the sword and slashes right through the main witness’s testimony. Stunned, the witness falter in her story and actually confesses to the crime herself. Triumphant, Elle emerges from the court room and is flooded by reporters covering the story of her great victory in the highly publicized case, even Warner notices. In fact, Warner pulls her aside and admits his mistake in leaving her before. He professes his love to her and asks for her back. This is the moment Elle has been orking for ever since that special date so long ago.
Only now Elle has transformed throughout her journey and she has realized what Warner was not the goal all along. The true victory was Elle learning what she is capable of and what she truly wants. She realizes how shallow Warner really is, and she leaves him speechless in the courtroom (Jerome). She emerges from the special world a whole new person, and she breaks the mold of the typical Malibu sorority girl. We then see her continue to graduate law school at the top of her class with prestigious law firm offers from all over the country.
Throughout Elle’s adventure, Legally Blonde follows a text-book recipe for the hero’s journey. The film presents a main character that is seemingly complete in her world. But then she is called to an adventure through some problem or challenge, and in this case her challenge is winning back her boyfriend Warner. Others refuse the call for her, but she is encouraged by a mentor who also happens to become her love interest. Outside of her normal element, she overcomes tests and defeats enemies and is triumphant when she reaches her main ordeal.
She returns victorious and transformed and sets off to start a new normal. What is interesting about this particular hero’s journey is the obvious stereotype of a seemingly blonde bimbo. Sorority attributes airheads and less than intelligent people to being blonde. And this film faces that stereotype head on. But it also shows how people can rise above the limitations that society sets and can achieve anything they set their minds to, even Harvard law school. Throughout Elle’s adventure, she is challenged with sexism and accusations of gaining success through less than honest means.
Women in the professional world are often faced with more challenges than men, as there is still a wide belief that work is a masculine world, and women belong at home raising kids and taking care of the family. Not only is that, but the notion that blondes are dumb or unintelligent still a prevalent opinion. Legally Blonde defies those stereotypes and examines the challenges that women face in succeeding in the professional area. It exposes differences between men and women and the clear mistreatment of one over the world.