Nowadays this arouses the tut-tut of disapproval for its sexism and rose-tinted view of prostitution (as personified by every man’s dream hooker, Julia Roberts). Richard Gere (every girl’s dream billionaire) is the businessman who picks her up in Hollywood and hires her for a week, partly for sex but mostly as arm candy to be worn at dinners and polo matches. What evolves is a modern fairy tale, Cinderella without the ugly sisters, as love inevitably blooms. Roberts, of course, has been driven to the streets by harsh circumstances and is really the archetypal tart with a heart while Gere is not nearly so ruthless as he first appears. Suspend disapproval and enjoy because it’s made and played with a great deal of charm.
Warrior Jet Li’s tale of victory may have an ulterior motive in Raise the Red Lantern director Zhang Yimou’s ravishing martial arts movie. The sets and costumes are works of art, while the fight scenes are as much ballet as battle.
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