You go girl: A new “Legally Blonde” is in the works

By Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

Elle Woods, the character in the hit, 2001 movie “Legally Blonde,” helped give law school and the legal profession — not exactly known for being all that colorful — a splash of hot pink. But she did more than just shake things up, pink-wise. She helped empower women — some even say the character inspired them to go to law school — as well as smashed the stereotype that blondes are clueless bimbos.

And guess what?

She’s coming back. The makers of the “The Legally Blonde” franchise (there was a second one, too) recently announced that a third movie is in the works. Although details of the plot have not been released, at the end of the second movie — called “Legally Blonde 2 Red White & Blonde” — it was hinted that Elle was headed for the White House. When actress Reese Witherspoon  — who played the character — spoke about the new movie on the Ellen DeGeneres show, she said she’s excited about the possibilities of the new chapter.

“I mean, it’s sort of about women being underestimated and I think it’s a good idea – that things have changed but not much has changed!”

In the original, Witherspoon plays a lively, bubbly student at a Southern California college — called CULA — who loves to dress in pink and carry her pet Chihuahua Bruiser everywhere. She’s majoring in fashion design and, of course, belongs to a sorority.  

She appears to have a golden life — until she’s dumped by her snobbish boyfriend Warner Huntington III right before he heads off to Harvard Law School. He didn’t think she had the proper heft to be the wife of a future power broker. (He’s the son of the governor, no less.)

Motivated to win him back, Elle applies to Harvard. Not only does she rock the LSAT — scoring a 179 out of 180 — she impresses the admissions board with a video essay of her in a bikini in a pool, citing her qualifications. They accept her, they note, because Harvard is always seeking to diversify.

However, acing Harvard is not Ellie’s initial goal. She only wants to win back Warner. And, in that effort, she finds more people underestimating and discouraging her. Elle climbs one wall after another to prove people wrong until …

Well, you have to see the movie. We don’t do spoilers …

Even those who never ventured into a constitutional law class would likely know that the movie is not exactly a spot-on portrayal of the law school experience. Check out “Paper Chase” for that. But the movie did indeed show how law school can be pressure-packed and disorienting. 

The movie’s real charm is Elle. Her good-hearted nature — and her newfound fortitude  — struck a nerve with many women. During the 15th anniversary of the movie’s release, fans took to Twitter to talk about how “Legally Blonde” was a part of their reason to seek a law degree. 

One wrote: “Is it bad that Legally Blonde legitimately makes me so excited and ready for law school…?”

Shalyn Smith was also inspired by Elle Woods to go to law school. She told People magazine in a 2016 interview that she always felt a connection with the character especially because people underestimated her despite her 4.0 GPA.

“When I got to law school, on the toughest days I would pop in the movie and get a good laugh,” she told the magazine. “Elle embodies fighting for what is right, staying true to yourself, and defeating the odds. It’s crazy that one movie can do that, you know?”

Today, according to her Linkedin profile, she’s the assistant regional counsel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Elle would be proud …

Arguably, today, women are waging much bigger battles then whether pink is an appropriate color for the courtroom. Just check out the #MeToo movement, for one.

Witherspoon said that the third movie — even though it’s coming nearly 20 years later — will still have to address how women struggle to be respected and valued.

It’s scheduled to be released on Valentine’s Day, 2020


Brittany Cruz-Fejeran is a National Jurist intern. She attends Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, where she works on the school newspaper.


 

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