Clueless Literary Elements


Amy Heckerling

Leading Actors/Actresses

Alicia Silverstone

Supporting Actors/Actresses

Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash


Teen film/Romantic Comedy




MTV Movie Awards (Alicia Silverstone)

Date of Release



Scott Rudin

Setting and Context

1990s Beverly Hills

Narrator and Point of View

The film is narrated by the main character Cher, and the story is told entirely from her point of view.

Tone and Mood

The tone of the film is light-hearted and amusing; although characters exaggerate minor issues like ruined shoes, overall it is a funny film with a happy ending.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Cher (protagonist); No particular antagonist

Major Conflict

Cher misjudges Elton's attraction to Tai, which causes Tai to become heartbroken. Cher fails her driving test, a major conflict, and then Tai insults Cher, calling her "a virgin who can't drive." The major conflict is Cher's misjudgment of a number of things, and her eventual realization that she loves Josh. Once she realizes she loves him, she has to win him over.


The climax occurs when Josh and Cher kiss on the steps, admitting their love for one another.


There are numerous hints and suggestions that Cher really loves Josh but she hasn't realized it yet. For example, she gets jealous when he has a female friend and when Tai shows an interest in him. Additionally Christian's homosexuality is foreshadowed by his reading a William S. Burroughs book in class; William S. Burroughs was a notable gay writer.


There are no understatements in the film; if anything, small events are exaggerated.

Innovations in Filming or Lighting or Camera Techniques

There are not many technical innovations, but the film is considered by many to have set a comedic precedent for teen comedies in the 90s. It is noted for its witty script and engaging performances.


The film alludes to the classic musical Gigi in several moments. Cher makes an allusion to Dickens' Tale of Two Cities when she misquotes it, saying, "Tis a far far better thing doing stuff for other people." Additionally, there are allusions to gay stereotypes in the revelation that Christian is gay.


Paradoxically, while Claire perceives the people in her life as "clueless," she in fact is the most clueless of all, and cannot even tell that she is attracted to Josh, a boy whom she thinks irritates her.


Dionne and Cher are best friends and many direct parallels are drawn between them. They both care about the same things and are both very self-centered, and as Cher puts it, "She’s my friend, because we both know what it’s like to have people be jealous of us.”