Beyond Clueless is a narrated look at the unique genre of American teen movies made roughly between 1995 and 2005. This is a superbly edited journey spanning 200 coming of age classics, and split into acts which highlight key moments in a teenager’s life. Beyond Clueless is both a look back at a genre of movies and a larger look at America’s youth trying to find themselves.
As I personally attended an American International school, a lot of what Charlie Lyne dissected from these films resonated deeply with me. The movies are supposed to reflect life but then again, life tries to imitate the movies, so a cycle is created and the two move closer together. Essentially, the movie demonstrates what actually happens in the life of an American teenager.
I really enjoyed watching the documentary for the walk down memory lane, but at points it felt all too familiar. Having seen at least 70% of the movies that were featured, I already had an understanding of what American coming of age meant. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel anything emotionally (we were all teenagers once!) nor does it not take away from what is a very well put together documentary with excellent and insightful narration.
One thing for certain is that the movies featured in Beyond Clueless mean a lot to so many people. In the screening, 13 going 30 was a bigger hit than I ever thought it would be. My personal favourites of this genre were Idle Hands and Can’t Hardly Wait, the first for the comedy value of a man losing control of his right hand and the other for my teen celeb crush of Jennifer Love Hewitt.
For those around 30 years, Beyond Clueless will be a trip down nostalgia alley, a welcome to movies past that we grew up with and a retrospective into Freddie Prinze Jr’s career.
BFI are continuing to celebrate the sweet pains and explosive joys of teenage youth in their season of films 'Teenage Kicks'. For more information about what's on and to buy tickets visit their website.
Ticket offer: £6 for 15-25 year-olds, or bring a friend and get two tickets for £10 (excluding special events and talks)