Coming to DVD today, Friday, June 2: BEYOND CLUELESS
Charlie Lyne’s deconstruction of the teen movie debuted at SXSW in 2014. Its fest circuit also included Hot Docs, Rotterdam, CPH:DOX, Cork, SF Indie, and Sheffield
Millennial filmmaker Lyne revisits the teen films of his youth – roughly from 1995’s CLUELESS to 2004’s MEAN GIRLS – in this wry essay, hypnotically narrated by Fairuza Balk, herself a survivor of the genre in films like 1996’s THE CRAFT. While her voiceover often offers brief synopses of the movies under consideration, the project generally feels geared to viewers like Lyne who have intimate, if not encyclopedic, knowledge of this period of teen films – older viewers might find themselves lost – or disinterested – at some points. That aside, the filmmaker’s affection for his source material is clear, having selected clips from some 200 teen flicks to illustrate his consideration of adolescence on screen, from a look at high school cliques, rebellion, sexual exploration, and the struggle between individuality and herd mentality. If the proceedings are given a somewhat offputting reverence that masks tenuous links or overstated readings, this tone nonetheless well matches the melodramatic excesses of the teenage experience, where everything feels like it’s a matter of life or death, and signals that its young director knows exactly what he’s doing.