The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, May 11-17

nyc repertory cinema Clueless (1995)
Directed by Amy Heckerling
Perhaps the first, and still one of the best, of the now numerous movies to transpose the plot of a Jane Austen novel (in this case, Emma) to a modern context, writer-director Heckerling’s Clueless is a fizzy SweeTart of a pop culture time capsule. It’s also a classic female coming-of-age story, echoing both Austen’s older-sister appreciation of her headstrong heroine’s good qualities and her bemused eye-rolling at her misplaced priorities and callow confidence. Young Emma’s early-19th-century version of entitlement and her appealing, if often delusional, self-confidence translates seamlessly to Cher’s (Alicia Silverstone) brand of 1990s alpha-girl California high-school cool. The characters are a little more stereotyped than those in Heckerling’s other great high school movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but Silerstone conveys the caring heart and good sense underlying Cher’s apparently oblivious materialism, Dan Hedaya is just prickly enough as her stern but loving dad, a pre-foot-in-mouth Stacey Dash is deliciously regal as her best friend, and Paul Rudd is adorable, as usual, as the deceptively perceptive ex-stepbrother who loves Cher not for her flawless sense of style but in spite of it. Elise Nakhnikian (May 13, 2pm, 7pm at BAM’s “Labor of Love: 100 Years of Movie Dates”; May 15, 6pm, 8:30pm at the Metrograph’s Amy Heckerling weekend, with Heckerling on hand for a Q&A after the early screening and to introduce the later screening)

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