The teen movie genre was one that fully began to take form in the 1980s, with the infamous John Hughes heading some of the biggest works of the decade’s pop culture. Today, the number of teen movies in existence seems to be vastly multiplying, even parodies such as ‘Not Another Teen Movie’ already being released. However, there is one decade of high school-based films which is often overlooked; namely, the 1990s. Despite a plethora of interesting teen movies based around that age (and the terrible fashion sense), there is one that, in my opinion, stands head and shoulders above the majority. “Clueless”, released in 1995, is based on the 1815 novel “Emma” by Jane Austen. Based around the trials and tribulations of teen girl Cher, the film is full of laughs, surprises, and delivers strongly positive message of self-love, and love for friends.
Cherlyin “Cher” Horowitz is at the top of her game. A few moths shy of her sixteenth birthday, she’s attractive, popular, and very, very rich. Although, she still does have some trouble learning to drive. Nevertheless, her life seems perfect. Well- almost perfect. Her mother passed away when she was a baby, but nevertheless, Cher seems almost blissfully happy. Despite being adored by almost everyone, her step brother Josh, played by Paul Rudd (otherwise known as Ant-man), still seems to find fault with her, but cares for her nonetheless. After setting up two of who school teachers, aided by best-friend Dionne, Cher realises how good it feels to help people. Albeit, the setting-up was done in order to improve her grade with one of the teachers. Nevertheless, Cher takes it upon herself to give back to the community, ‘adopting’, and the ‘tragically unhip’ new girl at school, Tai. However, in a misguided attempt to ‘help’ Tai, both Cher and Dionne don’t seem to realise that they’re changing everything about their new friends. When Tai’s popularity seems to surpass her own, Cher, realising what she’s done, begins some soul-searching, before the happy conclusion that is intrinsic to most teen films is reached.
Despite seeming significantly superficial, “Clueless” is a lot more than its surface. Whilst the protagonists do experiences romantic relations, the primary love felt throughout the film is the love between friends. Furthermore, despite Cher’s bids to ‘do good’ occasionally having disastrous results, her intentions, and achievements, are positive! Raising money for victims of natural disasters, as well as a being a skilled debater, and rational individual, Cher’s character by the end of the film is certainly a positive one, and one for both tween girls and boys alike to look up to.
Pop culture is so often brushed aside as superficial, although people often forget it is representative of the mass opinion. The “Penny Dreadfuls” of the Victorian era were known as trashy horror stories, and included the now-classics of “Frankenstein”, “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”, and “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. So, despite their seemingly superficial nature, it is worth noting that a deeper message could be found in the most unlikely fiction.