What particular points was Amy Heckerling trying to make when she transformed Emma into Clueless?
Emma a widely recognized novel written by Jane Austen, Clueless a modern movie adaption of the novel. Both focusing on the lives of privileged and wealthy girls who have limitless boundaries. Emma Woodhouse lives in nineteenth century England, whilst her counterpart, Cher Horowitz lives in modern and upscale Beverly Hills. The literary text, Emma, is set in a time that is culturally, socially and historically different to Clueless. Clueless is set in a time where plastic surgeries are a routine thing and replicating another person’s clothing is an offense punishable by intense social judgement. Whereas Emma is set in a time where being alone with a boy is seen as culturally wrong and marriages are usually only solely based on convenience depending on the social status and wealth of your partner. Prominent themes that enhance Heckerling’s purpose of transforming Emma into Clueless involve importance of class, wealth, marriage, relationships, self-development and transformation between the two characters.
A theme of wealth, importance of class and class-consciousness is easily recognized during the opening montage of the film. The montage shows Cher and friends, laughing, relaxing, shopping, partying and generally living a better standard of life than a typical teenager. Within the first 2 minutes of the movie we are shown Cher’s opulent house, her own jeep and a huge wardrobe. The theme is confirmed in the first paragraph of Austen’s novel as it states ‘ Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.’ The quotation helps us to see the similarities of fortune between the two main characters.
Cher and Emma are both socially dominating and are extremely powerful individuals.
In Emma this is shown by the quote ‘ The real evils indeed of Emma’s situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself ‘. In Clueless this is shown by the dominating attitude we can see that Cher has towards her father, which is due to the lack of maternal care. Her disposition to think a little too well of herself is shown when we meet Dionne her best- friend and she says ‘ She’s my friend because we both know how it feels to have people be jealous of you ‘ which shows us that Cher thinks very highly of her and her friend because of their obvious wealth. Importance of social class is also a theme as both girls are very aware of their high position in society and use it to their full advantage as they try associate with people who are within their social class.When Tai Frasier, who is Harriet in Emma is introduced in the film, Cher wants to adopt the ‘ adorably clueless ‘ girl but Dionne
responds saying, ‘ Cher she is...