Legally Blonde

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Legally Blonde Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Fun romp has some sexual references and salty language.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 101 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

There's more to a person than their outward appearance/behavior. Integrity and intelligence are more important than pleasing others. Doing something just to pursue a guy isn't worth it; you should do it for yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Elle is very "girly" -- she likes fashion and talks about boyfriends -- but she also successfully demonstrates leadership, integrity, intelligence, and other qualities that some might consider traditionally masculine, which helps make her character distinct from being simply a "girly girl." She learns to value herself as an intellectual being, while holding onto her superficial (albeit comedic) roots. She's also kind to everyone she meets.


Some verbal bullying behavior from Paulette's ex-husband.


Sorority girls are shown in their (chaste) underwear as they get ready for their evenings. References to lap dances, body parts, wet t-shirt contests, and long interludes in the hot tub. Elle's professor makes a pass at her.


Crude language includes "S--t," "t-ts," "ass," "a--hole," "balls," "bastard," "bitch," "boobs," "damn," "dammit," "Goddammit," "hell," "jerk," "piss," "prick," and "slut." 


The list of goodies is long and numerous since Elle and her friends go shopping to reward themselves. Cosmopolitan magazine, Clairol, Opi nail polish, Prada, Porsche, Harvard, Malibu Barbie, Apple products (Elle's ibook is very prominent), Taco Bell, Clinique, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of scenes in which college kids engage in casual drinking: keg parties, blender drinks, etc. Elle's dad always has a martini in hand. Elle shares a beer with Paulette.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Legally Blonde is a tongue-in-cheek comedy starring Reese Witherspoon. While it's clearly a girl-power story in the end, it does have some sexual references and stereotyping. There are references to lap dances, body parts, wet T-shirt contests, and long interludes in the hot tub. Elle's professor makes a pass at her. Elle's sorority life in California is all about mani-pedis, Prada shoes, and snagging the right guy. She decides to go to Harvard for the wrong reasons -- following a guy -- but she ultimately learns to value her brains, even if she continues to celebrate her successes with a shopping spree. There's college drinking and some profanity ("s--t," "t-ts," "ass," "a--hole," "balls," "bastard," "bitch,"  etc.).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMsMysterii November 28, 2010

Legally Blonde is Legally Brilliant!

Ok. First of all can I just say that this movie is an absolute treat. I love rom-coms but Legally Blonde takes the cake. I love the tension between Elle and War... Continue reading
Adult Written byLgw394 October 25, 2019

WAY too mature for the current 12yo rating

I am fairly free with what I let my daughter watch and recently rewatched this with her and couldn’t believe the amount of direct sexual conversation, much less... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byKateeRose February 4, 2014

Funny, up-beat, girly, and positive movie!

With the exceptional talent of Reese Witherspoon portraying the films leading blonde, this movie excels to be funny and up-beat with the message that even prett... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHe11o September 3, 2020

Okay Movie

It was an okay movie, not the best but not the worst either. I saw some people saying that it's a suitable movie for 10 and up, I disagree with this. There... Continue reading

What's the story?

In LEGALLY BLONDE, adorable Southern California sorority girl Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is about to graduate with a major in fashion marketing. Her life seems perfect. Her biggest challenge is what to wear for what she thinks will be a marriage proposal from her beau, Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis). But he has another idea. He has decided to break up with her before he leaves for Harvard Law School, because she's not they right type to help him in his political career. Elle decides that the only way to get him back is to join him at Harvard. So, she studies hard, aces the LSATs, and, with the help of a very unique videotaped application essay, she is admitted. Her new classmates are skeptical and tease her. Worst of all, Warner is engaged to a girl who looks like an ad for Town and Country magazine. They won't let her study with them and they play a cruel joke on her. But Elle surprises them all -- and even herself -- by becoming a first class law student and a first class lawyer while staying true to herself. She ends up defending a murder suspect with whom she has a special rapport and conducting a cross-examination that would impress Perry Mason.

Is it any good?

This courtroom comedy might not reach the heights of the sublime My Cousin Vinny, but it comes pretty close. Witherspoon is a treasure. She makes Elle completely believable as a delectable California girl with spirit and brains even she did not realize. Witherspoon and the art direction (even the credits have i's dotted with hearts) keep things bubbly even when Legally Blonde's script falters into predictability.

Luke Wilson as a young lawyer and Holland Taylor as an acerbic professor add some nice moments. And it is fun to see Raquel Welch in a cameo as a wealthy divorcée.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Elle did not have higher aspirations for herself at the beginning of Legally Blonde, and the role her parents played in shaping the way she thought about her future.

  • Talk about Elle's choice to keep her client's secret, even when it put her defense at risk, and about the mistakes people make when they judge other people based on appearances. What made Elle succeed when more experienced lawyers did not?

  • What did the way Elle responded to a practical joke show us about her?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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