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Freshly available on Netflix, is “Clueless” the best of teen movies?

On October 1st on Netflix landed the timeless clueless, teen movie par excellence directed by Amy Heckerling, whose twenty-fifth birthday is being celebrated this year. A look back at the aura of a pop culture monument.

The teenager, Cher Horowitz, is a larger than life Barbie with irreproachable plastic, living in an immaculate mansion on the heights of Beverly Hills. His late mom died during a liposuction gone wrong and his sweet dad is nothing but a lawyer shark. With her best friend Dionne, they roam the halls of the high school of which they are the queens, equipped with their state-of-the-art telephones and take refuge at the slightest annoyance in their favorite shopping center.

In short, everything starts for the best in the world of teen movies, stuffed with their usual stereotypes as pleasurable as they are exasperating, accompanied by a good dose of the second degree. Alicia Silverstone, spotted in Aerosmith’s kitchissime clip “Crying”, lends her features to our heroine. Welcome to theamerican way of life of the 1990s where consumerism rhymes with nihilism.

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Girls will be girls

Only here, in a few minutes, clueless has just revolutionized a genre that had been running out of steam for a few years already. If we do not know when exactly the birth of the teen movie – from the time of The Fury of Living or in the 1980s with the success of the films of John Hughes (Sixteen Candles for Sam, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Crazy Day)? – still, we generally oscillate between a Christian Slater and a Tom Cruise, icons of buddies movies : films of guys obsessed, except for a few details, by the imminent loss of their virginity.

The director already excelled in this field, having to her credit It’s hot at Ridgemont High School Where Johnny the dangerous. Yet in 1995, Heckerling decided to place a group of girls at the center of his story. This choice seems to us the most banal today, but it will earn him the entry of 20th Century Fox – which judges the scenario “too feminine” – and to land at Paramount, for the greatest pleasure. of its sister company, MTV.

(Paramount Pictures)

Fake Plastic Trees

Beyond its cast of trendy girls, the timelessness of cluelessis of course due to its subject. And for that Heckerling chooses the best model, the unbeatable Jane Austen and her novel Emma. To sum up, our protagonist plays matchmaker and wants to do good around her, even if she doesn’t know much about the world around her – hence the title “clueless” meaning “no idea”. From this perfect marriage between naive romanticism and caustic satire results the winning recipe: a learning story in good and due form against a deliciously sarcastic background.

To modernize everything, the director infiltrates a real high school to collect the very latest expressions of the moment, like the ” as if! “, since entered the Pantheon of cult replicas. With its chiseled dialogues and punch lines by hundreds, clueless wants to be as refreshing and dynamic as its heroines. Another sign of its originality, its legendary soundtrack: an ode to fakes with Fake Plastic Trees from Radiohead, carefree with Kids in America Where OKof Supergrass and sweet melancholy with the revival of Cranberries, Away .
(Paramount Pictures)

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“Nobody’s perfect!” »

Yes clueless is a product of its time and brilliantly captures the essence of the 1990s – Cher knows Hamletat your fingertips thanks to Mel Gibson, loves Cindy Crawford’s aerobics classes and all the girls in high school have their noses done – the strength of the film lies above all in the sensitive description it makes of this thankless age, on the edge of an adult world that we denigrate as much as we want. In a permanent egocentrism, all the characters look for each other and dream of each other, without paying attention to their comrades. The young girl does not notice, for example, that her new lover has a little too pronounced a penchant for Tony Curtis (“ Nobody’s perfect! “).

The general diktat seems to be imposed by the cinema itself: to stage yourself no matter what. The heroine therefore adjusts the lights during her first date and tries a sexy pose on her bed before ending up on the ground. His half-brother meanwhile, hipster in the making, walks around with a Nietzsche book under her arm, which serves more like a handbag. Casting an affectionate gaze on her characters, whom she mocks as much as she sublimates, the director finally demonstrates an increased sense of realism: painting this period of adolescence with blessed immaturity that many will come to regret. The virginal Cher is not as bad as she looks, since she admits to prefer cartoons to depraved parties.

hot chick forever

cluelesswill give birth to many heirs: other sulphurous adaptations of great classics of literature (Romeo + Juliet, Ten good reasons to dump you, Sex Intentions ) and paved the way for the reign of hot chick on the big screen. The latter will be reversed in Lolita Despite MeWhere Easy Girl but found later in The Bling Ring by Sofia Coppola or even spring breakers by Harmony Korin. Less punk and corrosive than its double Fatal Gameswith a certain black humor, the feature film will find a place of choice in pop culture, always wisely transgressive.

We no longer count the references to the film, which will first be available in a series of 62 episodes until 1999: the clip of Iggy Azalea featuring Charlie XCX “Fancy” will bet on its most bitchy . Tinashe or Ariana Grande will take over Cher’s cult plaid ensemble. A future rebootas well as a musical are in preparation and an application even makes it possible to obtain the famous connected dressing room of the teenager. A critical and public success upon its release, Clueless revolutionized the teen movie genre and fixed in amber a style – a way of being, of dressing, of speaking – which 25 years after its release retains a power of attraction. intact.

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