British blogger turned filmmaker Charlie Lynn navigates his way through over 250 teen classics and creates a love letter for American teen movies. The soothing tones of cult actress Fairuza Balk (The Craft) narrate the dizzying hormonal experience of love, lust and the teenage experience.
While Lynn does not question the genre, or the white heterosexual world that encompasses it, he skilfully utilises the ‘fair use’ rule in US Copyright Law that allows short clips to be used cost-free for critical commentary. As a result, this crowdfunded film stars superstar actors including Heath Ledger, Reese Witherspoon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lindsay Lohan and Kirsten Dunst. With the cast set, a collection of short clips form an oddly consistent narrative that suggests that the only way to survive high school is to appreciate the order and play by the rules.
Beyond Clueless weaves together an inspired structure with the wealth of material that’s at its fingertips, grouping together the classic motifs of high school cliques that are lost in an endless ritual. British synth-pop duo Summer Camp create an angsty soundtrack that encapsulates the thematically-linked messages of the film and the ceremonious right of passage to have violent confrontations and sexual awakenings.
The American teen genre is nothing more than a unified cinematic world and Charlie Lynn wouldn’t have it any other way. According to Lynn, “the best teen movies reflect the lives of contemporary teenagers, so they’re inevitably products of their time.” Beyond Clueless makes you reminisce these classic films, and leaves you wanting to watch them over and over, until you remember the teen angst you once forgot.