Beyond Clueless

"Excellent"

Beyond Clueless Review


With clips from more than 200 teen movies made in the decade after 1995's Clueless, this lively kaleidoscopic documentary entertainingly traces how America has depicted the teen experience on screen. The film's structure feels a little deliberate, and it of course is looking at a portrayal of puberty, not the real thing. But it's inventively edited by first-time feature director Charlie Lyne, with a snappy pace and some seriously interesting observations along the way.

These 10 years are significant because they marked an expansion in the style of coming-of-age movies, encompassing genres from comedy to sci-fi to horror to explore the clashes between high school factions of jocks, nerds, burnouts, artists and mean girls. Taken together, these films paint a vivid, perhaps exaggerated portrait of adolescence, including key rites of passage, the mob mentality, and the various things that feel threatening to the "herd" (like smart kids or loners). High school is the time when teens experiment with alcohol, partying, rebellion and sex, while facing up to peer pressure and their own mortality for the first time. And ultimately, everyone must navigate this emotionally overwrought period on his or her own.

The film breaks down this experience into five chapters: fitting in (as either a maverick or conformist), acting out (challenging the rules), losing yourself (developing your own identity), toeing the line (being forced to obey the rules) and moving on (growing into an adult). This kind of makes the movie feel like an academic thesis, especially with the somewhat overwritten narration (voiced by teen star Fairuza Balk). But the movie is packed with telling connections between this vast variety of movies, all of which reflect reality without ever depicting it too honestly. Thankfully, Lyne's editing is knowing and often very funny, putting scenes together to say something completely unexpected.

The range of films excerpted here is pretty astonishing (the credit crawl at the end is mind-boggling), including iconic hits like Clueless and Mean Girls, genre surprises such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, little-known gems like Idle Hands and Slap Her She's French, and cult classics from The Doom Generation to Ginger Snaps. Sometimes, the film's structure feels a little pushy, especially as the cool score (by Summer Camp) punches the connections insistently. And there's also the distance between actual teen experiences and the fantasies presented on-screen. But it's impossible not to have a great time being reminded of all of these movies, especially when they're mashed-up into such a lively journey.



Beyond Clueless

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd January 2015

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 5.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Charlie Lyne

Producer: Billy Boyd Cape, Anthony Ing, Charlie Lyne

Starring: as Narrator

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.