Pretty Woman, Single White Female, Hero: films on TV today

Hollywood's hooker fairytale, the housemate from hell and high-wire heroics from Jet Li

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BARRY NORMAN:  FILM OF THE DAY 

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Pretty Woman ★★★★
10.45pm-12.40am BBC1 

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.


The Searchers ★★★★★
1.30-4.00pm Spike 

John Ford’s western has been called the most influential movie in American history. John Wayne plays the former soldier looking for his kidnapped niece – to kill her.


Hero ★★★★★
7.00-9.00pm Film4 

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.


Single White Female ★★★★
9.00-11.10pm Movie Mix 

Bridget Fonda finds that imitation is not a form of flattery when Jennifer Jason Leigh moves in and starts to take over her life. Handbags (and high-heels) at dawn.


Starred Up ★★★★
Premiere 10.50pm-12.55am Film4 

Jack O’Connell commands the screen as a violent young offender transferred to an adult prison in this brutal but rewarding British drama.


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