At Westerburg High where cliques rule, jocks dominate and all the popular girls are named Heather, it's going to take a Veronica and mysterious new kid to give teen angst a body count.At Westerburg High where cliques rule, jocks dominate and all the popular girls are named Heather, it's going to take a Veronica and mysterious new kid to give teen angst a body count.At Westerburg High where cliques rule, jocks dominate and all the popular girls are named Heather, it's going to take a Veronica and mysterious new kid to give teen angst a body count.
Extreme Social Politics In High School
Ah, the 80s! It was quite a different time. Loud fashion, ecstatic energy. I love most of the 80's teen films, more than the 90's and 2000's films. There was a certain closeness between the characters and they were portrayed as real humans rather than just horny caricatures. Michael Lehmann's 'Heathers' is one of the best dark comedy teen satires. Lehmann briefly tackles many themes that are of concern to teenagers such as bulimia, popularity, bullying to self-esteem and suicide. This was the time when Christian Slater was a promising actor, when Winona Ryder wasn't arrested for shoplifting and when Shannen Doherty wasn't known yet for her unprofessionalism. the actors themselves were teenagers at the time and their performances come across as very natural. Slater perhaps gives his best performance while the adorable Ryder has gone from strength to strength until she almost vanishes into oblivion. Doherty is very cute and who knows what she could have achieved had she been more professional and not gone into soaps. I wonder whether the very young cast understood what kind of film they were doing or did they think of it as acting in a teen-flick? Waters is writing is amazing and even though a lot of the film is exaggerated, it brilliantly mirrors teen-life in the 80's (which isn't that different today either) and is brutally honest but at the same time funny. The dialogues and one liners are extremely comical and at the same time wonderfully simple. There's also a lot of clever symbolism. For example, Slater's Jason Dean says: People will look at the ashes of Westerburg and say, "Now there's a school that self-destructed, not because society didn't care, but because the school was society." This one line does mark a crucial truth about teenagers because for most teenagers, high-school IS society. Forget these 'American Pies', 'Mean Girls', 'One Tree Hills' etc. None of these wannabe teen flicks will ever be able to match up to the excellence of 'Heathers'. This is one of (if not THE) the best teen films.
- Jul 16, 2008
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