Clueless is a timeless classic. Cher, the main character 90210 beauty that everyone wishes they were, is one of my favorite movie personas ever. What I learned last night made me love her, and the movie, even more.
Clueless is an adaption of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. Last night, shortly after midnight, when I was exploring my bookshelf for something to occupy my sleepless mind, I stumbled across a gift my mom bought me last year for Christmas. It’s the smallest ever summary of all of Jane Austen’s books. This is a nice complement to the present my sister bought me a few years back, the complete extensive anthology of all of Jane Austen’s books. I read a grand total of one of her stories before real college classes set in and I lost anything that even closely resembled free time. I’ve always wanted to continue exploring the detailed lives of the characters Jane created, but honestly those books require a lot of commitment, and I don’t have the time to devote to her right now. Sorry Jane it’s not you it’s me.
To veer back towards my main point, after reading through the tiny summary, I discovered that Clueless was actually an adaption of Emma, Jane’s 1816 classic. This took away any shame that I had previously felt by my peers (those “intellectual,” clearly superior women that like movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Casablanca), who scoff and politely laugh when I proudly announce my favorite movie. Now when I reveal my fave movie in public, I can back it up by explaining the themes and characters that have translated so beautifully through time, from 19th century England to the 1990s in Beverly Hills. It’s like art.
Honestly, as dumb as Cher can come off as in this movie, my biggest takeaway has always been how happy she is. And yeah sure, the gigantic mansion and closet full of designer clothes is nothing to be sad about, but she’s happy about other things. She’s happy to help an outsider fit in. She’s happy to help two people find love. She’s happy to give back to those less fortunate. And while she does it in her own, slightly airheady way, she knows exactly who she is and what’s important in her life. So I’ll continue to admire her generosity, work ethic, positivity, and ongoing effort to better herself and the world around her. If you’ve seen the movie and overlooked these character traits, watch it again without thinking of the gender roles it’s offending, or the underlying messages about social classes in the U.S., and look instead at the character traits of Cher friggin’ Horowitz, the coolest Emma to ever exist.