On the 25th Anniversary of Pretty Woman’s release, the question for some still remains: Does Pretty Women take the seriousness of prostitution and the misuse of vulnerable women too lightly? Or is there more to the film than that? As a psychoanalyst who just re-watched this spirited and poignant film, I think there’s more. Sexual exploitation is a grave issue. Yet that’s not the point of Pretty Woman. Certain critics might say it should be. But, the fact is - Edward (Richard Gere) and Vivian (Julia Roberts) rescue each other from some serious fears and fantasies about relationships. There’s quite a lot to learn...

Does the film that launched Julia Roberts’ stardom insensitively overlook sexual exploitation or is it a romantic comedy that features one man’s fantasy? The jury is still out. It’s very difficult to make a comedy about such serious issues as prostitution and sexual trafficking (see my post on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). And, with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Garry Marshall’s Pretty Woman starring Roberts and Richard Gere, reactions have resurfaced from many camps. Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Executive Director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitatin (CAASE) writes an open letter to Gere in HuffPost with the plea...

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY — A mother’s hate inflicts the worst kind of suffering. There’s not one child among the main characters in August: Osage County who escapes. Not Violet, not Mattie Faye, not Barbara, Karen, Ivey, or even little Charles. Most of the film’s immediate suffering is at the hands of Violet Westin, the cruel matriarch of the Westin family. There’s certainly no excuse for a mother’s cruelty. Yet, can it be understood?  Even more importantly, how does a daughter save herself? Can a relationship with a mother like Violet ever change? In some rather twisted irony (at least to me as a psychoanalyst), August:...