Amy Heckerling - the depiction of female characters in 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' and 'Clueless'

Essay by Ghetto_SmurfUniversity, Bachelor'sB, October 2004

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How Amy Heckerling represents female characters through low comedy in two films she directed - Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless.

Heckerling's directorial debut was the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, this film can be classified a cult classic. The film follows a group of high school students growing up in southern California and the sexual misadventures of the lead character Stacy as she searches for a love interest. Along her journey Stacy is helped along by her older and so called wiser classmate Linda. Throughout the center of the film is Jeff Spicoli played by Sean Penn, a stoned surfer who has his own battle with the unyielding Mr. Hand who believes all his students are on pot. Stacy's elder brother floats through the film as a comic relief with his search for a new job, though he comes through for Stacy at the end of the film (

Thirteen years down the track Amy Heckerling once again delves into the teen film genre with Clueless. This time around Heckerling explores the absurd world of the ultra popular Cher and her best friend Dionne. While basing her script on the 1816 novel Emma by Jane Austin as a source of inspiration the storyline included outrageously priced clothes, plastic surgery and the ever-important mall. The film follows Cher on her vow to give new girl Tai an up-to-the-minute makeover and give her a chance of survival in the harsh world of Bronson Alcott High School, while also searching for love for others when she actually stumbles upon love herself (

Beneath the surface of Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High's lightheartedness and lively humor lies a lot more than what we see at first sight. Director Amy Heckerling employs particular techniques in both of her...