How many iconic movies has Reese Witherspoon been in at this point? She started acting from a young age and just never stopped. It’s hard to rank her top movies, in part because they vary so much in genre and audience. Are you more of an Election Witherspoon fan, Cruel Intentions type, or did you go on your own adventure after seeing Wild? Still, one of the most iconic movies Reese Witherspoon has done was the empowering comedy Legally Blonde. And now, the movie is on Netflix. It’s time to hang out with Elle Woods at Harvard, probably again.
While Reese Witherspoon is of course iconic, she was joined by an amazing cast in this one. Some of the other stars included Jennifer Coolidge, in one of her most famous roles. Luke Wilson, as the eventual romantic interest. Selma Blair, as the enemy with a redemption arc. Ali Larter, as a fitness star who maybe loved her older husband or maybe murdered him. Holland Taylor plays an angry professor who gives us the best advice at the end of the day when things got tough. You can remember some of the fun for this one in the trailer below.
Reese Witherspoon plays Elle Woods. The southern Californian blonde girl stereotype is exactly what she’s been raised to be. She is at college studying fashion, acing classes that no one respects her for. We meet her when she is about to go on a big date with her boyfriend, whom she believes is about to propose.
Instead, the guy dumps her at a restaurant, figuring it would keep her from making a scene. She calls him out on this, showing that she’s smarter than people believe. And she definitely makes a scene. From there, she goes to the salon, where women congregate and discuss there troubles. This is the place where Reese Witherspoon’s character clears her head. While there, she figures out what her ex-boyfriend wants. A woman who goes to an ivy league school and studies law. A “serious” woman. And so, Elle Woods makes it her goal to get into Harvard.
We cut to a montage of her working out and studying for the LSAT (law school admission test). We see Reese Witherspoon talk to advisors and witness the committee at Harvard deciding to let her in. When she finally gets to Harvard, she discovers she is in a completely different world. In California, she was everything everyone expected her to be. She fit in. She knew what she was doing at every turn. The moment she sets foot on the Harvard campus, people are judging her harshly. The pink does not go over well with her classmates.
Even the cute little dog in a matching Harvard sweater does nothing to win them over. It’s brutal. And then, she attends class, where her professor completely humiliates her. Thoroughly discouraged, she finally talks to her ex-boyfriend, only to discover that he is dating the girl he was dating before her, played by Selma Blair. This is the “serious” woman he wanted. She is discouraged by this, but throws herself into her courses and becoming a serious lawyer, hoping to become respected in this new world.
Eventually, she makes progress in one of her courses. She is chosen for a coveted position and gets to work on a real case. While she proves herself a valuable asset, gaining intel her professor couldn’t, and even becoming friends with those who judged her so harshly in the beginning, her confidence is completely shot when her law professor hits on her.
Everything seems to be over and Reese Witherspoon’s character goes tot he nail salon to say goodbye. That’s where her other professor, played by Holland Taylor, overhears what happened. The professor tells Elle Woods, “If you’re going to let one stupid prick ruin your life… you’re not the girl I thought you were.”
Elle Woods ramps up her efforts again, makes a new plan of attack, and saves the day in court. Even if you know nothing about hair care at the moment, after watching the finale of this movie, you’ll always remember the rules of perm maintenance.
Legally Blonde earned $141.8 million at the box office when it released in 2001. If you didn’t catch it in theaters at the time, it’s been a hit over the years via reruns on TBS and other networks, and has come up for streaming several times. Right now, you can catch it on Netflix.
While there was a sequel in 2003, it didn’t meet quite the same level of success. Despite this, Reese Witherspoon has always been a fan of Elle Woods. She is certainly one of the more fun characters Witherspoon has played. That is likely part of why she hasn’t hesitated to return for Legally Blonde 3. That movie has been written by Mindy Kaling and is set to release in theaters May 2022.