Sunday, April 07, 2013


1995, US, directed by Amy Heckerling

One of the great teen films, along with Heckerling's own Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Heckerling manages to retain our sympathy for her characters despite their uniformly privileged status. It certainly didn't hurt that the 1995 audience was fresh from a decade of Beverly Hills, 90210 melodrama, and indeed several of the gags make reference to that show. The film feels considerably less episodic than Fast Times: there's never a free moment here to indulge in a scene for its own sake, partly because the focus never strays from Cher (Alicia Silverstone).

Indeed, I can't recall many Hollywood films that have no scenes whatsoever that don't involve the protagonist, even if on a few occasions her presence is over the telephone. Cher comes across as a very canny young woman, eagerly manipulating her ditzy image but absolutely in control of her actions: in her own way, she's a surprising avatar for girl power, with no one, save a street punk with a gun, likely to put one over on her.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States