Image via WikipediaClueless is one of my favorite romantic movies because it combines two favorite genres in one: romance and teen movies. It also gets bonus points for being a stylish '90s update of the classic Jane Austen story, Emma.
This movie proves some things are eternal. Like in Austen's day, meddling friends, devotion to fashion, showing off for the object of our affection and falling in love for the first time are part and parcel of growing up. But in this case, the spot-on teenage lingo creates a fresh and delightful take on an old story. And when you add in the very specific wardrobe of richie-rich Beverly Hills teens, you have a perfect snapshot of love in a specific place in time. Most of us probably didn't have quite as much privilege and wealth while growing up as the characters in Clueless, but that doesn't matter. You can pile as many designer mini-skirts, BMWs and mansions into a story as you want, but love will always be universal.
In my opinion, Clueless would be half the movie it is without Alicia Silverstone playing the lead character, Cher. She manages to be beautiful to look at while revealing flaws that could be too obnoxious to bear in a lot of other people. Silverstone's innate charm caused her character to nearly float around on energetic, un-self-conscious self-involvement. And her own personal inexperience factored into the mix when she mistakenly pronounced "Haitians" as "Hate-ee-uns" during filming and director Amy Heckerling left it in the movie. It's just that type of vulnerability that made her well-suited for the part.
The rest of the cast is accomplished, too. Paul Rudd is the perfect choice as Cher's tormentor and the undersung Dan Hedaya plays the part of her dad to a tee. Stacy Dash also convinces us she's gleefully self-involved, as does bad boy Jeremy Sisto. Together, these accomplished actors; which also included Brittany Murphy, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer, Justin Walker, Wallace Shawn and Twink Kaplan; created a classic romantic movie that has every right to sit proudly beside any of the other adaptations of Jane Austen's work.
Here's the trailer: