Things You Only Notice About Legally Blonde As An Adult

Legally Blonde was one of my favorite movies when I was in middle school and high school. I loved it so much that, for a while, I was convinced that I should become a lawyer like Elle. While my career goals eventually changed, my love for the movie has remained steadfast. That being said, watching Elle slay Harvard Law School in Legally Blonde as an adult is an entirely different experience.


How is Bruiser allowed everywhere Elle goes?

I was in middle school the first time I watched this movie, and one of the things I remember being most envious of was the fact that Elle had the cutest dog who went with her everywhere. He lives with her in her sorority house and follows her to Harvard where he's seen hanging out with the other first years.


Now that I have a cute dog of my very own, I realize just how misled I was by Legally Blonde. There are very few places that I can bring my dog. The only way that Bruiser could be glued to Elle's handbag is if he were registered as an emotional support animal. It's possible that Elle has an undisclosed disability, but even if that's the case, it seems a little strange that no one ever asks for proof that Bruiser has the papers to allow him into so many places.

Warner clearly doesn't know that Marilyn Monroe was intelligent

Warner's breakup with Elle is one of the coldest scenes in cinematic history. Elle is smart, stylish, and devoted to her boyfriend, but Warner basically tells her that she's not wife material because she's too much like Marilyn Monroe. Warner clearly didn't get the memo that Monroe was a brilliant woman who kept her library filled with books.


"She was very witty, with an acidic sense of humor," said Monroe biographer Sarah Churchwell in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor. "The dumb blonde was a role — she was an actress, for heaven's sake! Such a good actress that no one now believes she was anything but what she portrayed on screen."

Elle's parents need a crash course on female empowerment

Okay, I get that this is a comedy and that Elle's sunny, colorful California lifestyle is supposed to starkly contrast the somber halls of the Ivy League, but her parents need a reality check. Most parents would probably be thrilled to see their daughter go off to one of the best law schools in the country, but Elle's parents are horrified. Instead of supporting their daughter, Elle's parents urge her away from the "boring" profession and to focus on winning local beauty pageants. It's like they were locked in a cryogenic freezer since the 1950s and slept through the entire women's liberation movement.


It's nearly impossible to score a 179 on the LSAT

The LSAT is hard. The average score is 150, which means that Elle's first practice test score of 143 is pretty dismal. Since getting into top law schools often requires a score over 170, many potential law students sign up for tutoring and test review courses. It's pretty unlikely that Elle would go from a 143 to a 179 (the test is scored out of 180) without some serious studying.


Statistically, students who take the LSAT a second time don't see much of an increase. In 2010-2011, only 65.1 percent of LSAT takers who scored a 145 the first time around increased their score the second time they took it. The average score only increased by an average of 2.4 points. Nearly 30 percent of re-takers actually did worse the second time around. Prepping for this test takes a lot more work than locking yourself in the library and skipping Greek Week. Sure, Elle may be smart, but her nearly perfect score seems a little too good to be true. 

Elle might have been among Facebook's first users

Mark Zuckerberg was started his freshman year at Harvard in 2002, at the same time that Elle was starting her second year of law school. Elle, a law school graduate of the class of 2004 would have been on campus when Facebook was first launched. This means that it's possible that she was one of the social media site's first users. As a Harvard student, she would have been eligible to register for a profile on the site from its earliest days when it was restricted to students with a Harvard e-mail address


This movie is pretty anti-feminist

For a movie that's about chasing ambition, there are some pretty strong anti-feminist themes. Some of them, like Elle going to Harvard to chase a man, can be forgiven because the movie is about her developing into an independent woman, and that plot line helps to accentuate her journey. But others, like the portrayal of Enid Wexler as a caricature of modern feminism, are pretty disturbing.


Also disappointing is the fact that, while Elle is empowered by the end of the film and dumps Warner for good, she still ends up with a man. Thankfully, this isn't a major plot point, but it still would have been nice to see Elle end the movie as a single, empowered woman. 

Emmett is a great guy and all, but the revelation that he's going to propose on the day of Elle's law school graduation detracts from the overall premise of the movie. Elle realizes that the engagement ring she chased Warner to get isn't as important as finding herself. And yet, her engagement to Emmett shows up at the end of the film, as if the producers assume her academic accomplishments and self-growth aren't enough to woo the viewers. 


Elle incorrectly uses the phrase "habeas corpus"

The scene where Elle poses as a lawyer in order to help Paulette get her dog back from her ex is one of my favorites, even though her legal jargon isn't completely accurate. The legal term "habeas corpus" doesn't actually have anything to do with common-law marriage. The literal English translation of the Latin phrase is "that you have the body." In legal matters, "federal courts can use the writ of habeas corpus to determine if a state's detention of a prisoner is valid." The legal practiced developed in the 13th century as a way of preventing unlawful imprisonment.


Why couldn't Brooke have told her legal team her alibi?

For most of the trial, Brooke's legal team is convinced that she's guilty because she refuses to provide an alibi. Brooke is afraid that if it's revealed that she was having liposuction at the time that her husband was murdered, it will ruin her reputation as a fitness instructor. It's understandable that she wouldn't have wanted this information revealed in court, but she simply could have asked her lawyers not to disclose her alibi. Attorney-client privilege would have prevented them from revealing her secret, but the knowledge could have helped them prepare a stronger defense.


Elle's reaction to Professor Callahan's sexual harassment is not surprising

Professor Callahan's actions are clearly sexual harassment and a violation of Title IX which prohibits sex discrimination on school campuses. The fact that Elle doesn't immediately report him for harassing her and instead decides to drop out of law school is a realistic chain of events, and indicates a much larger problem on America's college campuses.


Sexual assault victims at universities very rarely report the crimes, meaning that the perpetrators often go unpunished. In many cases they think that they won't believed or that what happened to them wasn't actually a crime. 

In a Time article, Colby Bruno of the Victim Rights Law Center explained why so many victims remain silent. "Victims don't often identify it as a crime because they know the person, they trusted the person, sense of denial or disbelief that it happened," she said.

Elle would not actually have been allowed to defend Brooke

That climactic court scene towards the end of the film is inspiring, but never could have happened in real life. According to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03, students operating under supervision may act as lawyers, but they must "have completed successfully their next to the last year of law school study." They must also have "the written approval by the dean... of his character, legal ability, and training."


Even if Elle met this criteria, she still wouldn't have been allowed to represent Brooke. Law students are restricted to representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or representing indigent clients. Brooke made a fortune as a famous fitness instructor and married a wealthy man, so she would not be considered indigent.

Everyone is wearing the wrong cap in the graduation scene

At the end of the film we see Elle and her classmates on their graduation day, but their outfits are completely wrong. Law school graduates traditionally wear doctoral gowns and tams. Instead, everyone in the scene is wearing the flat mortarboards typically worn by undergraduates.  You'd think that a fashionista like Elle would know the difference!