The 1995 classic, Clueless, directed by Amy Heckerling a classic that’s been the inspiration to movies like Mean Girls and other teenage comedies. Little do people know that it’s actually inspired by Jane Austen’s book Emma.
The movie follows Cher and her adventures in attempting to play matchmaker. She and her friend Dionne attempt to transform the lives of a new student, Tai. Things don’t go as planned when Tai suddenly takes the spotlight, and Cher realizes that you can’t change someone else to fit your standards. The story’s main character is a pretty, rich Cher Horowitz. Cher lives in a mansion in Beverly Hills waited and flaunts her wealth with her fashion. When it comes to being Queen of Bronson Alcott High School, Cher definitely takes the crown. Cher finds herself playing matchmaker for two of her teachers and successfully negotiates her way from a C+ average to an A- average. This inspires her to use her matchmaking gift to help others.
Along comes new girl Tai Frasier, an “ugly duckling” with a crush on a skater boy named Travis. Cher and Dionne decide to give Tai a makeover, in an attempt to help transform her life. Cher’s brother Josh tells her that it isn’t wise to try to fix something or in this case someone, who isn’t broken. The makeover does help Tai gain confidence and a sense of style but it isn’t until after a “near-death experience” at the mall that Tai goes from confident to cocky and seems to become a threat to Cher’s social status. From there Cher’s life begins falling apart, through a series of bad dates and a depleting social status she begins to realize that Josh was right this whole time, and even furthermore, her life isn’t as perfect as she’d imagined. By the end of the film, Cher realizes her Tai regains Cher’s respect and friendship and begins dating Travis.
Now the question is, does the storyline help convey the message that ‘you cannot change someone else to fit your standards’? I believe it does. The Clueless storyline is able to flawlessly execute this message, especially for a movie of its time. Where the storyline tends to fall short is the filer details, that seem to just add on to the movie’s runtime. I feel that the initial matchmaking between the teacher is a bit unnecessary. Although it arguably shows us some of Cher’s “superficial character” the story would be exactly the same without it. The toxic relationship between Dionne and Murray is also nothing more than irrelevant plot. Sometimes it’s a little funny, but I think that there are plenty of funny moments without it. I think that where they show the relationship between Dionne and Murray it may have been a better idea to build a stronger relationship between Cher and Josh, who are dating at the end of the movie. It feels somewhat forced, especially considering that Josh is Cher’s “ex” step-brother, a pretty big detail to get over.
The best actors in this movie are Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy. I say this because they both have the hardest roles to play and pull it off flawlessly. Alicia’s job as Cher requires her to make sure to have a seamless execution of Cher’s very round personality. She had to display, charm and cleverness, all packed into a posh, popular, fashionista. Had Alicia Silverstone portrayed the character as being too clever or too posh, it would have changed the classic Cher that people know and love today. Similarly, Brittany Murphy had to be at one point klutzy, tomboyish and another she’d be cocky and snarky. The cast says that Murphey was a genuinely sweet and kind person, but she plays an extremely convincing transformed Tai. When I first saw this movie, I was incredibly impressed by the Tai’s transformation.
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