In Pretty Woman, Vivian tells Edward that he couldn't afford for her to stay with him for the entire night:

Vivian: So, I'm on an hourly rate. Could we just move it along?

Edward: Somehow I'm sensing that this time problem is a major issue with you. Why don't we just get through that right now.

Vivian: Great, let's get started.

Edward: How much for the entire night?

Vivian: Stay here? You couldn't afford it.

Edward: Try me.

Vivian: $300

Edward: Done. Thank you. Now we can relax.

Edward picks up Vivian in a Lotus Esprit and takes her up to the penthouse at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. Given both of these things, it is easy to ascertain that Edward is rich. Vivian is aware of the value of the car due to her knowledge of automobiles. She is also visually nervous walking into the hotel because it's an establishment for the upper class.

Vivian already knows that Edward is wealthy. So, why would she think that Edward couldn't afford $300 for her to spend the night?

  • 33
    If I had to guess... she knows he's rich but has no sense of what that really means... for her, $300 is an amazing sum. She can't imagine someone tossing away that amount nonchalantly...
    – Catija
    Jun 8, 2017 at 14:03
  • 7
    I think she's also not used to being picked up by such a rich john. She's a streetwalker, not a high class call girl. None of her usual clients can afford a whole night.
    – Barmar
    Jun 8, 2017 at 20:59
  • 2
    Don't forget that the screenplay was written in the mid 1980's. $300 then is worth about $686 (officially) or over $1500 (more realistic inflation calcs) today. Jun 9, 2017 at 17:13
  • 3
    Catjia got it proper. She is poor - she has no cocnept how the 1% live. Spending 300 USD for something like that would be stupid for her - and she has no idea that Edward is so rich he can waste multiple times that for a dinner and not care. There is a hugh social disconnect here.
    – TomTom
    Jun 9, 2017 at 20:40
  • 1
    Congratulations, this question is the winner of the corresponding topic challenge.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Jun 19, 2017 at 8:59

1 Answer 1


Vivian should have said "wouldn't", but tries to create an image of value. So she says "couldn't". But inwardly, she views herself as not being of much value.

She knows Edward is rich. And (probably from past experience) she knows that that this does not mean she will get a lot for performing. Her way of "having a good night" is to do volume.

When Edward offers to pay for the night, she puts on a brave face and quotes "a lot" for her world -- pocket change for Edward. It was only later in the movie that she realizes she is of great value.

  • Oh, wow! Great insight! I have never thought about it that way before :) Jun 8, 2017 at 14:02
  • So she basically threw out - what to her - was a ridiculously high amount, thinking he'd never go for it.
    – Omegacron
    Jun 9, 2017 at 18:37
  • She "threw out" what to her was a high amount (and that's all). If he went for it -- good. If not, she could make a good night by hurrying things along to her next customer. At this point, she does not value herself highly; something quite different from her character later on.
    – John
    Jun 9, 2017 at 20:02

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