Narrated by Fairuza Balk, Beyond Clueless is a cinematic essay that looks into the mind, body, and soul of the teen movie. The documentary consists clips and examples from over 200 films, including The Craft, Mean Girls, and Euro Trip. Diving headfirst into the psyche of the teen movie, Beyond Clueless focuses on issues, such as fitting in, acting out, losing yourself, toeing the line, and finally moving on.
Beyond Clueless can be described as a mix between the essay-style film history of The Story of Film: An Odyssey and the history of the teenager from Teenage. Ultimately, both of those films are way superior to Beyond Clueless, which uses hyperbolic film analysis to make teen movies sound a lot more important than they really are. The only statement made in the film that I really agreed with was when it brought up the great Canadian horror film Ginger Snaps and mentioned that film’s parallels between lycopanthy and female puberty. Other than that, I had to sit through the film telling me that, the long-forgotten 2001 film, Bubble Boy is about repressed sexuality and that the horror film Jeepers Creepers has homoerotic themes.
Beyond Clueless is somewhat loose in its definition of a teen movie. In addition to seemingly featuring more horror films than anything else, the film also brings up the romantic comedy 13 Going on 30 and the superhero film Spider-Man as examples of the teen movie genre. Also this documentary shamelessly provides full spoiler-filled summaries of many of the film examples, so be prepared to find out the endings of at least a half-dozen films. While Beyond Clueless can probably be forgiven for leaving out the film referenced in its title, the film still ended up being excruciating to watch.3 | DISLIKED IT