Clueless (1995)

Clueless (1995)

Directed by Amy Heckerling

Cult Film

This month, 1995 smash hit Clueless has well and truly been shoved back into the pop culture consciousness, through Iggy Azalea’s sassy-as-hell homage in her new music video for “Fancy.” Azalea has ensured that no one will be forgetting the brick cell-phones, yellow tartan and fluffy pens that easily, and I thank her for it.

Clueless transports us to the world of some upsettingly wealthy teenagers at a Beverly Hills high school. Our hero, Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is the fashion-focused, blonde bombshell, Queen B of freshman year, who has taken it upon herself to bring joy to the lives of others. This takes the form of shacking up with two lonely schoolteachers (in a ploy to improve her grades), and “adopting” the lowly new girl in attempt to turn her into a Betty (like, really super hot). Cher’s “self-less” plights create more trouble than good in most cases, but she emerges with the realisation that the love of her life has been right in front of her this whole time. Swoon.

Sound familiar? That’s because Clueless is based on Jane Austen’s 1815 Emma, just with way more lip-gloss and references to recreational drugs. I like to think Austen would not be turning in her grave. Sure, the film heavily features the phrase “I’m bugging” and there seems to be more focus on costuming than narrative flow but Clueless is still a superbly original adaptation that, just like Austen’s work, offers social commentary.

That’s right, it’s satirical. It would have to be, or else it would be really goddamn annoying. Most of us would have watched Clueless at a young age and not picked up on the irony, but I highly recommend you revisit it as an “adult” (whatever that means) and discover the real film hiding underneath all of the vapid. Clueless deservingly sits on Entertainment Weekly’s list of film history’s 100 “New Classics,” making it one beloved childhood film that has actually stood the test of time. That is apart from the fact it’s completely laughable the characters are meant to be 15; I know post-grads who look younger than Cher. Why do you always do that, Hollywood?
This article first appeared in Issue 6, 2014.
Posted 7:01pm Sunday 30th March 2014 by Rosie Howells.