Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is a rich high-school student who is learning to cope with adolescence and its problems. She also helps a new student gain popularity and in the process discovers her own feelings.
A ton of coming-of-age films focuses so much on trying to tell a captivating and juicy love story that the central characters and overall tone of the film get lost along the way. But not Clueless. It most definitely is centered around teen romance, but it also centers on so much more than that. It’s a movie about learning to become a better person without having to change who you are at your core. It’s a movie about friendships and how valuable they are especially when you’re young. And lastly, it’s a movie about trying to make the most out of your high-school years even with the trials and tribulations that come with it.
I could spend an hour talking about how much Amy Heckerling’s Clueless means to me. The first time I saw this coming-of-age comedy was when I was sixteen years old. Just like I usually do, I was scrolling through Netflix one day, looking for something good to watch. A lot of the movies that were suggested to me were ones that I have already seen many times, and I wanted to experience something I hadn’t yet seen. Then, Clueless popped up. I knew it was a movie that was held in a quite high regard and a lot of people at my school had loved it. My fellow classmates as well as a large majority of the general public consider it to be one of the all-time greats in the genre.
So, I figured that it must be highly acclaimed for a reason and I put it on. The ninety-seven-minute runtime blew by so quickly that it felt like maybe twenty minutes. A smile was on my face the entire time and I was so caught up in the lives of Cher, Dionne, Tai, and their friends. They felt like real people to me and not actors.
I can’t say that I can relate to the lives that these three protagonists live, but nevertheless, I still felt a connection to these characters. I felt like I was a part of their lives. It made me happy. It’s such a comforting movie and I will truly never forget my first viewing. Sometimes when I have a bad day, I’ll just pop on Clueless and within a few minutes, I’m laughing and smiling ear-to-ear like it’s the first time I’ve seen it all over again. Revisiting it today was no different.
Heckerling’s script is gleefully funny and filled to the brim with charisma and charm. Watching Cher and her friends throwing parties, having fun, and discovering the difficulties of love and growing up while a teenager is a blast to watch. It’s hilarious but also poignant. It’s truly hard to put into words how infectiously happy Clueless makes you feel. The screenplay doesn’t have a simple bump along the way.
Also, it would be a crime to not mention the wonderful performances all throughout the cast, but namely Alicia Silverstone as lead protagonist Cher. Some may call her performance in the movie over-the-top and maybe even a little bit silly, but I think it’s something that should be embraced. She never feels overly goofy, but rather just a happy-go-lucky girl with a non-stop positive attitude that rubs off on the viewer and leaves them in a good mood.
The dynamic between Silverstone and actors Stacey Dash and Brittany Murphy is seriously infectious as well. These three feel like best friends even off-screen. The way they interact with each other and tell stories in the film is so real. While watching the film, it almost feels like you’re peering into their lives.
What makes the movie even more uplifting is the beautifully colorful cinematography by the legendary Bill Pope and the excellently stylish costume design. Pope’s camerawork here is gorgeous. There are so many expertly framed shots that look almost too good for a coming-of-age film. All of these shots look even better with the costume design. Everybody in the film wears some sort of fashionable clothing item from the nineties that really makes the overall production design feel so vibrant and full of life. Clueless is just one of those films that you need to watch to experience how wonderfully happy it is. It’s one of the most uplifting movies of all-time and is the perfect pick-me-up flick to watch on a rainy day.
Clueless is a delightfully uplifting coming-of-age comedy classic that will always stand the test of time with its cheery storyline, wonderful production design, and endearing performances.
Overall Grade: A+
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sex-related dialogue and some teen use of alcohol and drugs
Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Dan Hedaya, Elisa Donovan, Justin Walker, Wallace Shawn, Twink Caplan, Julie Brown, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer, Jeremy Sisto, Nicole Bilderback, Sean Holland
Directed by: Amy Heckerling
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: July 19, 1995
Running Time: 97 minutes