Legally Blonde’s Original Ending Would Have Ruined The Point Of The Movie

Legally Blonde's Original Ending Would Have Ruined The Point Of The Movie

Legally Blonde’s ending delivers a great message. However, the original ending plan would’ve completely missed the point the film was making.

Legally Blonde had an alternate ending that would’ve ruined the point of the movie. The 2001 comedy, based on a book of the same name by Amanda Brown, starred Reese Witherspoon as bubbly sorority girl Elle Woods, who initially decides to attend Harvard Law School to win back her boyfriend but ends up learning how to become a confident lawyer instead. Legally Blonde was a critical and commercial hit, leading to two sequels, a direct-to-DVD spinoff, and a Broadway musical. The success of Legally Blonde was due to its humor and Reese Witherspoon’s winning performance, but also because of the film’s great underlying message, which would’ve been undone if Legally Blonde (which Ariana Grande paid homage to in the “thank u, next” music video) had gone with its original ending.

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The end of Legally Blonde flashes forward to Elle’s 2004 graduation from law school. Elle gives a commencement speech in front of her classmates, including rival-turned-friend Vivian (Selma Blair), ex-boyfriend Warner (Matthew Davis), and professor Elspeth Stromwell (Holland Taylor). However, this wasn’t always the ending that the screenwriters had in mind.

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In an interview (via EW), Karen McCullah, who co-wrote the screenplay with Kirsten Smith, revealed that the original ending went in a different direction. Originally, Legally Blonde ended at the courthouse scene after Elle won her case defending Brooke Taylor-Windham (Ali Larter), who was accused of murdering her husband. Everyone congratulated Elle, and Emmett (The Royal Tenenbaums’ Luke Wilson) came up and gave her “a big kiss.” Then there was a tag that took place one year later when Elle and Vivian (who is now blonde) were handing out pamphlets for the Blonde Legal Defense Fund in the Harvard quad. Test audiences disliked this ending, saying that it wasn’t “exciting” enough, career-wise, for Elle, and McCullah and Smith worked together with director Robert Luketic and producer Mark Platt to come up with the graduation speech.

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde’s original ending didn’t fit the film’s overall message because it ended with Elle getting the guy instead of focusing on her personal growth. McCullah mentioned in her EW interview that test audiences knew Legally Blonde wasn’t a rom-com, though Elle and Emmett’s kiss in the original ending feels like a classic rom-com movie trope. The ending Legally Blonde used instead is perfect because Elle’s graduation speech shows how far she had come as a character throughout the course of the film. Legally Blonde started with Elle plotting to get the guy back, but it ended with Elle realizing how much she was capable of on her own. It did a great job of reinforcing the film’s point, while the original ending wouldn’t do it justice.

Legally Blonde worked because of its great script, which would’ve been slightly weakened if the screenwriters hadn’t decided to change the film’s original ending. The graduation speech was a more fitting end to Elle’s story than the courthouse kiss with Emmett. The speech reinforced the movie’s point and allowed Reese Witherspoon’s acting skills to shine in Legally Blonde’s perfect conclusion.

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