Edward Lewis (Gere), a successful businessman and "corporate raider", takes a detour on Hollywood Boulevard to ask for directions. Receiving little help, he encounters a beautiful prostitute named Vivian Ward (Roberts) who is willing to assist him in getting to his destination.
The morning after, Edward hires Vivian to stay with him for a week as an escort for social events. Vivian advises him that it "will cost him," and Edward agrees to give her $3,000 and access to his credit cards. Vivian then goes shopping on Rodeo Drive, only to be snubbed by saleswomen who disdain her because of her unsophisticated appearance. Initially, hotel manager Barnard Thompson (Hector Elizondo) is also somewhat taken aback. But he relents and decides to help her buy a dress, even coaching her on dinner etiquette. Edward returns and is visibly amazed by Vivian's transformation. The business dinner does not end well, however, with Edward making clear his intention to dismantle Morse's corporation once it was bought, close down the shipyard which Morse spent 40 years building, and sell the land for real estate. Morse and his grandson abandon their dinner in anger, while Edward remains preoccupied with the deal afterward. Back at the hotel, Edward reveals to Vivian that he had not spoken to his recently deceased father for 14 and half years. Later that night, the two make love on the piano in the hotel lounge.
The next morning, Vivian tells Edward about the snubbing that took place the day before. Edward takes Vivian on a shopping spree. Vivian returns to the same shop that had snubbed her, telling the salesgirls they had made a big mistake.
The following day, Edward takes Vivian to a polo match where he is interested in networking for his business deal. While Vivian chats with David Morse, the grandson of the man involved in Edward's latest deal, Philip Stuckey (Edward's attorney) wonders if she is a spy. Edward re-assures him by telling him how they met, and Philip (Jason Alexander) then approaches Vivian and offers to hire her once she is finished with Edward, inadvertently insulting her. When they return to the hotel, she is furious with Edward for telling Phillip about her. She plans to leave, but he apologizes and persuades her to see out the week. Edward leaves work early the next day and takes a breath-taking Vivian on a date to the opera in San Francisco in his private jet. She is clearly moved by the opera (which is La traviata, whose plot deals with a rich man tragically falling in love with a courtesan).
While playing chess with Edward after returning, Vivian convinces him to take the next day off. They spend the entire day together, and then copulate, in a personal rather than professional way. Just before she falls asleep, Vivian admits that she's in love with Edward. Over breakfast, Edward offers to put Vivian up in an apartment so he can continue seeing her. She feels insulted and says this is not the "fairy tale" she wants. He then goes off to work without resolving the situation. Vivian's friend, Kit De Luca (Laura San Giacomo), comes to the hotel and realizes that Vivian is in love with Edward.
Edward meets with Mr. Morse, about to close the deal, and changes his mind at the last minute. His time with Vivian has shown him another way of living and working, taking time off and enjoying activities for which he initially had little time. As a result, his strong interest towards his business is put aside. He decides that he would rather help Morse than take over his company. Furious, Philip goes to the hotel to confront Edward, but only finds Vivian there. He blames her for changing Edward and tries to rape her. Edward arrives in time to stop Philip, angrily ordering him to leave the hotel room.
Edward tends to Vivian and tries to convince her to stay with him because she wants to, not because he's paying her. She refuses once again and returns to the apartment she shares with Kit, preparing to leave for San Francisco to earn a G.E.D. in the hopes of a better life. Edward gets into the car with the chauffeur that took her home. Instead of going to the airport, he goes to her apartment arriving accompanied by music from La Traviata. He climbs up the fire escape, despite his fear of heights, with a bouquet of roses clutched between his teeth, to woo her.
His leaping from the white limousine, and then climbing the outside ladder and steps, is a visual urban metaphor for the knight on white horse rescuing the "princess" from the tower, a childhood fantasy Vivian told him about. The film ends as the two of them kiss on the fire escape.
Read more about this topic: Pretty Woman
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Famous quotes containing the word plot:
“There comes a time in every mans education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given him to till.”
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“The plot! The plot! What kind of plot could a poet possibly provide that is not surpassed by the thinking, feeling reader? Form alone is divine.”
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“The plot was most interesting. It belonged to no particular age, people, or country, and was perhaps the more delightful on that account, as nobodys previous information could afford the remotest glimmering of what would ever come of it.”
—Charles Dickens (18121870)