9
Nov 04

FT TOP 100 FILMS 11: CLUELESS

Do You SeePost a comment • 771 views

FT TOP 100 FILMS
11: CLUELESS

Whodathunk that the highest paid alumnus from Clueless would be Brittany Murphy?

This plays in nicely to the pieces written about Mean Girls and Saved! over the last couple of days because Clueless is their loving parent. A film which picked up a truth about satire which had almost been forgotten in the nineties: you can take the piss out of someone you like. So rather than rolling our eyes at how vacuous the kids in Beverly Hills are, a la 90210 and laughing at their Valleyspeak, let us imagine them as full blown characters. Let us like our heroine, while we laugh at her.

It is quite possible that Cher is the only character that Alicia Silverstone will ever be able to pull off properly (perhaps it is too close to life). But Cher is a magnificent creation. Good hearted, joyous and yet troubled by the complications in her life. The learning curve of her character matches that of the audience. By the time we realise that there is actually going to be a real emotional story involved, we are already involved in it. By the time Cher realises that trying to be nice to Tia is in its own way equally patronising, and you cannot change others personalities, she realises it is too late. But nothing ever gets too dark, we have that perky unsure voice-over to pep us along.

Clueless reinvented a dead genre, to potentially frightening effect (certainly the She’s All Thats were pretty unwanted). But it also managed to hint at exactly what the teen movie could do. A genre as malleable as any other it has now become the Trojan horse with which to smuggle in other interesting stories. But heralding a new era of interesting a intelligent all ages films and pretty much reinventing and defining a genre at the same time is not the real reason Clueless is great. Clueless is great because it is very, very funny. Managing that whilst having Radiohead on the soundtrack is an achievement.

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