Reece Witherspoon as Elle, lounging on a red chair with her dog in a still from Legally Blonde (2001)
Reece Witherspoon as Elle, lounging on a red chair with her dog in a still from Legally Blonde (2001)
Legally Blonde (2001)

ACMI presents

Legally Blonde

Screens with short film Titsiana Booberini (1997)

Robert Luketic | U.S.A. | | PG

Directed by Australian filmmaker Robert Luketic, Legally Blonde gives the conventional rom-com a feminist twist with Reese Witherspoon bend and snapping into stardom.

A feminist romance between a woman and her own best self.


Following on in the legacy of great romantic-comedies motivated by female vengeance like 9 To 5 (1980) and The First Wives Club (1996), Legally Blonde charts the journey of a woman out to get hers. That upstart is Elle Woods, a sorority sister turned aspiring lawyer, played by Reese Witherspoon in a star-making turn. After getting dumped by her long-time boyfriend for – among her perceived sins – being “too blonde”, Elle enrols at Harvard to pursue a career as a lawyer and prove to her ex that she can be a serious prospect. However, what started out as a somewhat superficial venture soon morphs into a true calling as Elle falls in love with not just the law but a sense of purpose that has absolutely nothing to do with a man.

Australian filmmaker Robert Luketic makes his directorial debut with Legally Blonde following the success of his short Titsiana Booberini, which become somewhat of an Australian cultural touchstone. With a screenplay from Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith – inspired by the real-life story of Amanda Brown in her novel – the cast is stacked with sharp dialogue executed by even sharper performers. At the time, legendary film critic Roger Ebert wrote that Legally Blonde was “impossible to dislike, although how much you like it may depend on your affection for Reese Witherspoon” and that sentiment has only grown. In part, due to the enduring timeliness of the themes which flipped the conventions of the rom-com by moving the love story into the background, while Elle Woods’ career ambitions and female relationships remained firmly in the foreground.

– Maria Lewis, Assistant Film Curator

Format: DCP
Language: English
Source: Park Circus
Courtesy: Park Circus
Duration: 93 min

Learn more

READ: What, like It’s Hard? The Enduring Legacy of Legally Blonde
Erin Taylor, Bitch Media, Mar 2021

READ: 5 ways Legally Blonde's Elle Woods is a feminist hero
Ella Alexander, Harpers Bazaar, Jun 2018


Fri 30 Jul 2021


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93 mins



Sexual references, Low level coarse language

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Concession $39
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Cinema 2, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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Screens with

Titsiana Booberini (1997)

The breakout short film for Australian director Robert Luketic, Titsiana Booberini follows a check-out chick who goes through a metamorphisis after discovering a hair removal cream for her upper lip. Following on in the legacy of other female-centred coming-of-age stories like Muriel’s Wedding – it even features the same villain, Sophie Lee – it swept the international film festival circuit and became a pre-cursor for the quirky comedies that dominated the naughts (Kath & Kim, Napoleon Dynamite, Juno).

Robert Luketic | 1997 | Australia | 11 mins | G

Titsiana Booberini 1.jpg

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