A week in film – week 49

I’m so close to the end of this year in film that the idea of breaking my habit and not posting this on a Sunday, like every week, is UNACCEPTABLE. I’ve posted when I’ve been ill, when I’ve had nothing to say, and I’ve posted from another continent. So, that I moved house (into my first adult home!) yesterday and we still have no internet shouldn’t be an issue. Right? Right. Thank God for mobile hotspots and the last day of my data allowance. I am splashing out on this blog post.

Then again, that might not be the most sensible decision ever. I mean, I could use my final few megabytes to watch the Captain America: Civil War trailer again. This blog post isn’t exactly going to be crammed with entertaining content because I’ve been in Scotland working for pretty much half of the week and packing up my childhood for the other half. BUT I have definitely watched one thing, accompanied by a takeaway and cheesecake and my new housemates (starting as I mean to go on), and that’s given me the opportunity to clear the table and talk about the thing – again. I want to talk about Clueless.

If you haven’t seen Clueless, I’m going to sum it up as succinctly as I can: Cher, a high schooler, spends her time matchmaking others while fairly oblivious to the state of her own love life. But succinct summaries are always terrible (and I’m not usually known for brevity), and it doesn’t give Clueless an inch of the credit its due. Clueless is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, updated to fit into 1990’s LA, and it is perfect. Perfect on its own terms – that screenplay, which I will be able to quote for my entire life, is one of my favourites – and in terms of a screen adaptation of Emma.

I’ve grown up loving Austen, and while Emma is definitely my least favourite of her novels, there’s still her tone and her humour and warmth which goes with it. Some adaptations lose this when they lose the words on the page, but Clueless takes the lightheartedness and RUNS with it in a completely different direction – while still recognisably being the same (or a very very similar) story. In fact, I’m adamant that it is the most faithful screen adaptation of any of Jane Austen’s novels – I don’t necessarily want to see exactly the same text on the screen, but I do want to have the tone and the spirit of the novel captured by any film which is in any way related to it. Clueless does this in spades, and still works in its own ‘90s teen movie way. Cher’s obnoxious, like her literary double, but she’s obnoxious in the most-popular-girl-in-school-in-a-nineties-comedy style. Tai’s not from LA or a popular clique so she’s an outsider, like Harriet Smith is because of her class. Josh/Knightley is just perfect anyway. The performances are great, it’s SO funny, and the fact that it’s so of its time just works in its favour. People have their favourite Austen adaptations. Mine is Clueless.

So, basically, I’m wondering why I chose to write about Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice over Clueless for my second year film adaptation essay. This is what this post boils down to.


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