Amy Heckerling’s Clueless: Context

Written and directed by Amy Heckerling, and released in 1995 USA.

Target audience: worldwide appeal, but particularly towards teenage audiences


  1. Why do you think Heckerling employs so many pop cultural references in Clueless?
  2. What cinematic styles show that this is a film that sits clearly within the teen flick genre?


In Clueless‘ post-industrial 1990s Beverley Hills setting, a social hierarchy exists, but it less rigid and more fluid than in Emma‘s time.

  1. What are the different types of social groups in Clueless?
  2. Instead of inherited wealth and social breeding, social status (or popularity) in Clueless is defined by what factors?
  3. How does Cher and Dionne’s portrayal reflect certain stereotypes in modern day society? How does Cher’s actions in the end challenge her stereotype?


  1. What is the purpose of the constant visual motif of mobile phones in Clueless? What does this reflect about the position of technology in modern society?
  2. Image and appearance are paramount to many of the characters in Clueless. How is demonstrated visually (eg. setting and costume) and through the attitudes of the characters?
  3. How does Clueless reflect a more secular society, and what has replaced the Church in this sense?


  1. In what ways is the position and power of women in Clueless similar and different to that in Emma?
  2. Clueless deals with current social issues, including sexual promiscuity and conformity. How do most of Cher’s peers view sex? How is Cher’s decision to remain a virgin regarded by her peers?
  3. Clueless also deals with the social stigma of homosexuality through the character of Christian. Which character in Emma is he paralleled to? How does this reflect changes in social prejudices?
  4. How is marriage (and divorce) regarded in Clueless?

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