Analyse how Amy Heckerling’s film ‘Clueless’ portrays the youth of Contemporary America and the society in which they live

‘Clueless’ can be seen in many different ways as it fits into a number of genres. It can be a satire, a comedy, a teen film and towards the end a romance as well. It is a satire because it exaggerates the life of the young rich in America. It is a teen film because it deals with a number of teen problems like school and relationships. This makes it appeal to a teenage audience because it deals with teen problems.

The story focuses on the life of Cher on a day to day basis. It tries to make you believe that she has a normal life. But you soon realise that she doesn’t. One example is at the beginning when she tells us she has “a way normal life,” before moving to her computer to pick her clothes for the day. This shows you that she thinks the life that she and her friend’s live is a normal life. She is also very selfish at the beginning and Josh says that if she, “didn’t do something 90% selfish,” he would die of shock.”

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It uses irony and exaggeration, the two types of satire, to show how important image is to Cher. Amy Heckerling exaggerates the high school education system. When in class Cher and her classmates never seem to be listening to the teacher and are usually doing some other activity. For example Travis is always decorating his skateboard and some of the girls are putting make up on. When they do actually do something in class, like Cher’s debate, it is totally off the subject and when the teacher asks if there is any questions, the questions have nothing to do with the debate. An example of irony is when Cher tells Josh “I so need lessons from you on how to be cool.” This is ironic because it is being sarcastic, this is because she actually means the opposite of what she says.

Throughout the film, we see clever use of interior monologue. Interior monologue is when you hear what Cher is thinking. This technique has a number of advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that you understand Cher and her thoughts much better. A disadvantage is that you only learn Cher’s point of view of the other characters.

The use of music in the film is also effective. Amy Heckerling uses a piece of music for each character to show what they are like. For example when ever Josh comes on, ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ by Radiohead is played. This reflects his personality because to him the world is fake.

‘Clueless’ gives us a lot of information about the way that young rich people in Beverly Hills live. For example, it shows that they have almost every thing they could possibly want and always the most expensive. This is shown when you see that Cher and Di have really expensive cars to learn to drive in. Also Cher gives skis to the people of the Pizmo Beach disaster, which shows that she has limited understanding of people who don’t have a life like her.

An event that highlights the importance of image in the Beverly Hills society is at the opening of the film when you see Di for the first time and Cher says that she hangs out with Di because they both “know what it’s like to have people envy us.” This shows that image is more important than having real friends in Beverly Hills. Another thing that highlights the importance of image throughout the film is that most of the girls have bandages on their noses, showing they have had plastic surgery on their noses.

Travis is one of the Characters in the film who doesn’t care about image. He loves skateboarding and always has it with him. His clothes are always scruffy. Although when he gets his grade card and realises that they are not very good he tries to jump out the window. So he must care about his image a little.

Most of the characters in ‘Clueless’ undergo certain journeys during the film. One of the biggest journeys is with Di and Murray. At the beginning Di and Murray don’t seem to get on very well and Di is always telling Murray not to call her ‘woman’. Then after the incident on the freeway they become much more considerate towards each other, but only when they think no one is watching. Another big journey is with Tai. At first when she is introduced to the class in the PE lesson, people called her a farmer. She meets Travis and likes him. But then Cher and Di ‘adopt’ her, give her a ‘makeover’ and tell her to keep away from Travis. Then when she has a ‘near death’ experience and becomes the most popular girl in the school, she even has to ask someone to move over to let Cher sit down. She does move back to liking Travis though after see finds out that Elvis doesn’t like her. She ends up like Cher was at the beginning of the film.

There are a number of turning points in Cher’s life. One of them is when she is robbed and has to turn to someone else (Josh) for help. Another turning point is when she volunteers to help with the Pizmo Beach disaster, because it shows that she has discovered her caring side and is willing to help others. I think the most important turning point in Cher’s life is when see has her driving test and realises that she can’t talk her way out of something. This is important because see realises for the first time that she can’t use her ‘powers of persuasion’ to get her out of everything.

We see Josh’s caring instinct throughout the film. You can see at the beginning that he cares for Cher, because she is always checking up on her to see if she’s ok. When Cher gets robbed and has to turn to him he is very understanding and comes out to get her.

To conclude it appears that Amy Heckerling’s film ‘Clueless’ portrays the youth of America in a very exaggerated way. It shows that image is very important to the youth of America and will stop at nothing to improve their image. For example when Cher uses her ‘powers of persuasion’ to get her report card changed and her father said that he “couldn’t be happier than if they were based on real grades.” The film also shows that the young rich are unable to understand that any one could have a life different to theirs. Although you must remember that it has all been exaggerated a lot.