Jane Austen City Limits bonus: CluelessPosted: 2 March 2008
I think I’ve already mentioned that I love my new HD-PVR. So imagine my luck when I saw Clueless in the guide listings. I thus put it on record (it aired at an ungodly hour) and settled in to watch it when I would have watched something Austen-like on Masterpiece Theatre – not sure why PBS broke it up their Austen season like that.
I don’t know why I’ve avoided this film for so long; my sister had the VHS. And even after I learned that it was a modern retelling of Emma, I still didn’t watch it. But better late than never, so the saying goes.
As I watched Clueless, I marveled at two things. The first is how well I managed to pick out the Austen parallels, despite the fading memory from the last time I read Emma. Writer/director Amy Heckerling did a great job pulling in the plot elements and seamlessly dropping them in that harsh world known as high school. That leads me to my second point: the film is so quintessentially of the 1990s. I was just transported back to the time of grunge wear, skateboards, the swing craze, and a few songs I haven’t heard in a while.
I think Alicia Silverstone carried this film in her role of Cher. She had the right touches to take those varying elements of Emma Woodhouse’s character (the gleeful matchmaking, the concern over her father’s well-being, and the jealousy over Tai’s crush over Josh and her subsequent realization why) and create a convincing character that we can’t help but like. And the wide range of outfits didn’t hurt either…
I came away quite impressed with what I saw, and am still kicking myself for not seeing Clueless earlier. 9/10