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A gem like this is hard to find, so what are the best movies like Clueless? Here are two more film worlds that are full of beautiful things and ambitious people.
Full of beautiful things and ambitious people
Like Cher, these films’ heroines can be a little critical of anyone who doesn’t match up to their standards, but they’re well-meaning at heart.
As you might know, Clueless is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, so let’s start at the source.
Emma is an adaptation of the same book (bet you didn’t see that one coming!) that coincidentally came out the same year.
I’ve got to admit, I didn’t really take much notice of Emma’s release.
Clueless is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma
There was so much Austen around in the mid-‘90s, it kind of got lost in the sea of bonnets. Plus, a Texan director? Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma?
It doesn’t sound like the perfect recipe for Regency success.
But, somehow, it really is!
The film itself is great, but it’s also brilliant for star-spotting.
Wondering who fills in for Jeremy Sisto, Paul Rudd and Brittany Murphy? You can look forward to Alan Cumming as Mr Elton, Jeremy Northam as Mr Knightley and Toni Collette as Harriet.
Historical drama’s not for everyone.
Even if it’s your thing, there’s a time and a place, and sometimes, you want a noisy, colourful, modern day comedy.
If you Like Clueless, you will like Legally Blonde (find more great similar films here) for sure.
Cher is proud of her debating skills, whether it’s talking her way into a better grade or arguing the case for immigration policies through a party-themed example.
If you Like Clueless you will like Legally Blonde for sure
Elle Woods shares that same talent, this time putting it into practice on an internship assignment.
And like Cher, whose clique originally defines her, Elle relies on her sorority sisters – until she starts to shape her own, independent life at Harvard.
She’s even got her own Elton and Josh equivalents.
Honestly? Some teen movies get it so wrong. Thanks to director Peyton Reed’s efforts, Bring It On isn’t one of them.
I’m pretty sure you know the basic premise – a winning cheer squad find out their routines are lifted from an inner city high school, leaving captain Kirsten Dunst with a major problem.
Sure, there’s a romance storyline, but like Clueless, Bring It On gives us a great supporting cast with their own subplots (spot the Amber equivalent!).
Plus it’s kind of refreshing that Eliza Dushku’s character doesn’t totally change.
But what makes this movie really shine? A smart script that doesn’t patronise.
Shopaholic is a fun, happy movie about New York financial journalist Becky Bloomwood’s realisation of her shopping addiction and her potential in life.
But we get to enjoy a ton of boutique time first.
Sophie Kinsella’s book series has been stacking up on my shelf for years, and yes, there are some major differences.
The movie is based on the first and second books – it’s not a carbon copy, but that’s ok.
Sex and the City’s stylist Patricia Field created Becky’s wardrobe, and that means colour, statement pieces, and a whole lot of designers – perfect if you loved the super bright fashions of our favourite Beverly Hills’ residents.
Four great movies with the same spirit – is that enough options? It’s not? Ok, don’t tell anyone but here are some extras. Fluffy pen at the ready, take note!
10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997) and Mean Girls (2004) are a few more high school movies that are just as smart and funny.
You can read all about them here, so I won’t bore you with a re-do.
If you feel like watching something similar but a little different, why not try one of these? For me, they definitely capture that same feeling.
The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985) might get school cliques spot on, but John Hughes’s script for Pretty in Pink is a little closer to Clueless.
Sure, the wardrobes aren’t fancy, but they’re very ‘80s and colourful, and like Cher, Molly Ringwald’s Andie has to take care of her single parent dad.
If you like it, try Some Kind of Wonderful (Howard Deutch, 1987) by the same writing/directing team.
Here’s a vintage option.
Betty Grable’s Loco and Marilyn Monroe’s Pola share an apartment with smart and slightly scary Schatze, played by Lauren Bacall.
They might be poor (watch the furniture disappear for ‘cleaning’ as they sell it off), but it doesn’t stop them leading shiny, sparkling lives.
All three are models searching for millionaire husbands, and they remind me a lot of a classier version of Cher, Dionne and Tai. Like our ‘90s favourites, they learn a little along the way, too.
My favourite scene? It might just be the lodge, but I’ll let you catch that misunderstanding for yourself.
A capsule description?
Emilie (played by Audrey Tautou), a salon owner from the south of France, tries to help her mother move on after divorce by sending well-meaning notes from a fictitious secret admirer.
Matchmaking, meddling and putting herself last – Emilie has Cher’s obsession for helping others pretty much perfected.
This movie is just so light and likeable.
If you’re looking for a contemporary Emma story that’s a little more low-key, Beautiful Lies might be the answer.
Ok, I don’t know about you, but I think ‘Clueless’ is so timeless (and so awesome) that it deserves a few more recommendations.
With a few recent must-see options and a couple of classics to choose from, maybe you’ll find just the thing to complete your girly movie marathon.
A socialite prepares for her upcoming wedding with the help of her family, a heap of jazz musicians and two reporters (yes, one of them’s Frank Sinatra).
Just for added fun, she’s still not completely over her neighbour – who might look familiar too, as he’s played by Bing Crosby.
It’s another vintage pick, so maybe Cher wouldn’t have heard of this one, but she would love Grace Kelly’s elegant style.
Plus, she’d be totally at home in this lush society environment.
Boarding school is a massive learning curve for a California teen who’s packed off to the UK after a disagreement with her stepmother-to-be.
With transformations and unlikely friendships all over the place (and, yep, a high school setting) you can’t go wrong.
Don’t forget to check out these other movies like ‘Wild Child’ as well.
Ambitious and beautiful Becky sets out to climb the social ladder, through painstakingly strategised romance.
Reese Witherspoon makes the perfect devious heroine as she plots her way to the top, in a world that’s just as cliquey as high school.
The difference here? Costumes aside, of course – the stakes are way higher.
Felicity Jones plays Kim, a no-frills girl who takes a chalet girl job in the Alps when she and her dad struggle to make ends meet… and finds herself thrown into a world of champagne and salopettes.
Though a tragedy had ended Kim’s sporting career years before, the new surroundings and a cash prize convince her to try snowboarding. But she’s still got to balance her past and present selves with her reluctantly made-over chalet identity.
Tamsin Egerton’s on hand as the Cher to her Tai, totally at home in the lush Alpine chalet world, with Ed Westwick as the well-to-do heir who unexpectedly takes an interest in the newcomer.
It’s a remake of the 1950s Audrey Hepburn classic with heaps of 1990s stylings.
Schmaltzy? Yes. But tons of fun too!
We meet the chauffeur’s daughter who returns from Europe with more elegance than she knows what to do with. And while she’d long had a crush on one of the family’s sons, her upgraded image attracts the attention of both the brothers.
The only pity is we see more of the brothers’ debates at times. Move over, Richard Gere, and let the title character get a look-in!