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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: Clueless

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July 31, 2009

Movie Review Friday: Clueless

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that’s currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Clueless (1995)

Available on DVD

You may think Clueless is just the story of a vacuous Beverly Hills teen with a revolving wardrobe, an inability to drive on the right side of the road, and a propensity to say, “as if”. But it's actually so much more. An adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, the film chronicles the journey of a young woman, Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), trying to make sense of the world and create value with her life.

Cher’s ex-stepbrother, Josh (Paul Rudd), is pursuing a career in environmental law. He tries to teach her the importance of volunteering. In one scene, he tells her, “I'm going to a TreePeople meeting. We might get Marky Mark to plant a celebrity tree.” When she asks why they don’t just hire a gardener, he replies, “Maybe Marky Mark wants to use his popularity for a good cause, make a contribution.”

Cher, arguably the most popular girl in school, has only used her guile and charisma to act as matchmaker and get better grades. She tries repeatedly to solve her problems by shopping, and "helps" others through fabulous makeovers. She soon discovers that superficial quick fixes can’t sustainably improve her life, or anyone else’s.

Eventually, Cher realizes she's in love with Josh, and knows that the way to win him is to become more selfless and environmentally conscious. She becomes captain of Pismo Beach Disaster Relief, organizes food drives, and pillages her closet for donations. When Cher’s father sees her dragging her skis to give away, he questions her; she mindfully responds, “Daddy, some people lost all their belongings, don't you think that includes athletic equipment?”

Clueless is an effervescent and surprisingly thoughtful comedy perfect for a girl’s night in, and ultimately encourages its viewers to take a tip from the newly enlightened Cher: “Do something good for mankind or the planet for a couple of hours.” 

--Julia Gelbaum

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