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R.S.V.P. – Clueless (1995)

Clueless is a 1995 U.S. coming-of-age teen comedy film written and directed by Amy Heckerling. It stars Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy and Paul Rudd. It is loosely based on Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma, with a modern-day setting of Beverly Hills. The plot centers on Cher Horowitz, a popular and rich high school student who befriends a new student named Tai Frasier and decides to give her a makeover. This clip opens with Cher (Silversone) discussing her friend Dionne  (Dash) dating Murray, a fellow highschooler. We then see Cher and her classmate Amber (played by Elisa Donovan) in debate class discussing the topic of Haiti, and Haitian refugees to the U.S. after the 1991 Haitian coup d’état and the impact of Hurricane Gordon in 1994. Cher compares Haitian refugees to uninvited guests at her father’s 50th birthday party. Heckerling spent time at real Beverly Hills high schools to understand how real teens in the 1990s talked and learned some appropriate slang terms.

Discussion

How is the experience of being a teenager portrayed in this clip?

How does Cher’s class, gender, and race intersect with her experience of being a teenager?

In the clip we see a motivating soundtrack during Cher’s argument and the class cheers for her, do you think she makes a good argument or does the show want us to think she makes a good argument?

Do you think this is an accurate representation of teenagers? Why or why not?

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