What Are The Similarities Between Emma And Clueless

1176 Words5 Pages
Jane Austen’s nineteenth century novel ‘Emma’ (1815) is ingeniously reshaped into a film written and directed by Amy Heckerling called ‘Clueless’ (1995). Although both texts span 200 years the significant values from the original text are still maintained through the transformation, suited for a more contemporary audience. The folly of making prejudicial judgements and the journey to self realisation leading to growth and development are developed in parallel through both texts. ‘Emma’ is set amongst the rural gentry in England, in the fictional town of Highbury, where the importance of social class and values are fondly recognised within the community. The opening sentence “Emma Woodhouse handsome, clever and rich... seemed to unite some…show more content…
‘Clueless’ was set in the late twentieth century in the consumer driven world of LA, where ‘Clueless’ contemporises some of the issues found in ‘Emma’. There is still a clear hierarchy of class and status maintained in the film, but instead of making prejudicial judgements based on family fortune and suitable partners, they are based on appearance and popularity. This is shown when Cher takes Tai around the school and shows her all the ‘groups’ that are socially unacceptable such as the ‘Persian mafia’ with BMWs and the ‘loadies’ which include Travis. Costuming is also used to reveal wealth and status. The ‘cool’ groups are always in expensive designer clothing with Cher and her friends wearing very provocative designer outfits. This is contrasted with the unfashionable jeans and flannelette shirt that Tai wears, as the camera pans from her feet to her body. Tai’s costume identifies her as an outsider. When Cher tries to match make Tai with Elton it is once again clear that the importance of class and status is very high. When Cher questions Elton as to why he does not like Tai, it becomes clear through irony that popularity is crucial. Elton declares “why not? Why not? Don’t you even know who my father is?” “(Cher) oh! You are a snob and a half!” Cher is blind to see that she to is a snob as she judges people the same way Elton judges…show more content…
The beginning of Clueless shows Cher as a rich, spoilt, overindulged and superficial teenage girl. Josh being the parallel of Mr Knightly acts as a voice of reason when he accuses Cher for being self “if I ever saw you do anything that wasn’t 90% selfish, I’d die of shock!” Cher only starts to realise her own faults when she fails her driving test which acts as a metaphor for the lack of control she has over her life. This incident acts as a catalyst towards Cher’s journey to self actualisation. The song ‘All by myself’ is used as non-diegetic sound as Cher symbolically experiences her downfall as she is seen walking downs steps. Cher’s voice over then tells the audience “everything I think and everything I do is wrong, it all boils down to one inevitable conclusion, I’m totally clueless.” This growing recognition forces Cher to see her world is superficial and based on false perceptions. Cher’s new found revelation acts as a stepping stone to her realisation that she is “butt-crazy in love with Josh” which is emphasised through flashbacks, non-diegetic sound and the imagery of the fountain bursting to life as she comes to terms with her own feelings. In the end, Cher fully achieves self realisation when Josh finally accepts her which is symbolised in the final scene when Josh and Cher kiss at the top of the stairs, metaphorically showing she has reached maturity, growth and

More about What Are The Similarities Between Emma And Clueless

Open Document