Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Why Elle Woods from Legally Blonde is one of my Heroes

I was a little bit humbled last Wednesday evening when I was hanging out with my book study group, and the question was posed to me, “What movie has spoken to you in a way that reminds of who you really are?” I wasn’t so humbled by the question itself as by the process of having to admit my answer. Most of the people in the group are in “the industry”. As an actress, people expect you to respond to questions about your favorite movies with answers like, “The Deer Hunter”, “Casablanca” and “Citizen Kane”. Not me. To see my top ten list of my favorite movies, click here. For some reason, my list is dominated by classics from my childhood that still resonate with me today and a few fabulous chick flicks, peppered with one or two picks that would actually reflect that I am a professional in the industry. My answer to the above question posed to me at the book study group (after issuing a plea to not be judged for what I was about to say) was “Legally Blonde”. I don’t typically see any movie more than once while it is still in theatres, but I saw that movie three times on the big screen, and have seen it several subsequent times on video.

The main character is Elle Woods (played flawlessly by Reese Witherspoon), a college coed who gets her heart broken her senior year by her hunky boyfriend. In an effort to win him back, she decides all of a sudden one day to apply to the law school where he has already been accepted for admission for the upcoming year: Harvard. After a lot of dedicated studying for the LSAT and a rockin’ video she submits to the application screening committee, she is admitted to Harvard Law.

When she arrives on campus to start school, it becomes clear that Elle Woods is out of her element. She’s a California bottle-blonde Barbie type who just landed herself in Preppyville. Making friends is hard. Earning the approval of her teachers is hard. And getting the attention of her ex-boyfriend is the hardest of all, especially considering that he is now engaged to a country club queen who also goes to Harvard Law.

Much of the rest of the movie is seeing Elle realize just how smart she is. She begins to believe in herself. She embraces her uniqueness, even when those around her criticize her for it. She becomes fiercely “Elle”, and grows into the person she was meant to be. She follows her instincts, and as a result wins a huge court case and graduates valedictorian of her class, grabbing the attention of the hottest hottie on campus along the way (a man who far outshines the ex-boyfriend she followed to Harvard). Seeing Elle exit the court room after winning her big case was truly inspirational. Even her walk was distinctly “Elle”.

I think the reason that Legally Blonde spoke to me as loudly as it did is because I saw it at a time in my life when I had nearly lost myself. I had fallen into an approval trap of trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be, instead of being the “me” that God created me to be. When I think about the people in my life who inspire me, they are distinct, unique, independent thinkers who are not trying to please. It is their authenticity (there’s that word again!) that draws me to them. Elle Woods made me want to be me again, and for that, she will always be one of my personal heroes.


Autumn's Mom said...

Hi. Thanks for your comment earlier. I like your blog. I have to tell you. Two of my fav movies are Legally Blond and Sense and Sensability. When Legally Blond came out, Autumn didn't understand the words. She said, Mom can we go see Wiggly Pond? Wiggly Pond is our favorite movie we watch together.

Cheers to new friends :)

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your focus on seeking what God has for you, rather than seeking other people's approval. Keep up the good work, sister.