Mean Girls

Friday, July 17, 2015


source: imdb.com

Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.” –Cady Heron (Mean Girls, 2004)

I know having a boyfriend might seem like the only thing important to you right now, but you don’t have to dumb yourself down in order for a guy to like you.” –Ms. Norbury (Mean Girls, 2004)

There are two kinds of evil people in this world; those who do evil stuff, and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.” –Janis Ian (Mean Girls, 2004)

Title                 : Mean Girls
Director            : Mark Waters
Starring            : Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey
Genre               : comedy, teen drama
Distributor        : Paramount Pictures
Release date     : 30 April 2004
Running time     : 97 minutes

"Mean Girls" movie poster - source: imdb.com

Adolescence; one word only, but can bring a whole lots of memories with it. For people who have already passed their teenage phase (like me), reminiscing all the moments from our adolescence days is so exciting. While, perhaps, when we were living in those days back then, it didn’t feel as exciting as reminiscing it now. There are so many aspects in teenager’s life that are interesting to talk about, and anyway, in the last two movie reviews, I’ve been discussed two phenomenal teenage movies that mostly focused on romance and love relationship. But for today’s movie review, it will focus on the teenage girl societal interaction. Yup, I present the one and only “Mean Girls” for today’s Moments Of Our Lives part 2. Since it was released in mid 2000s, when new media usage weren’t as impactful as it is now, so we can focus on seeing how high school life subconsciously forms the teenage girl interaction back then, with its intriguing social hierarchy, culture of cliques, gossip, and rules for popularity.


source: imdb.com

The social life of high school, nevertheless, is about the ways cliques (also known as peer group) work, and how students are categorized and stereotyped by who they hang with and how they dress (this latter part is only applied in Western countries where the schools don’t have any uniform except for Physical Education). And this, is what unfamiliar for Cady Heron (portrayed by Lindsay Lohan), a new student at Evanston High School. She was transferred from Africa and was home-schooled by her zoologist parents, making it her first brush with socialization (read: school life). Fortunately, there are semi-goth indie girl Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) and quick-witted gay Damian (Daniel Franzese), who clue Cady in their anthropology analysis of how the social wheel in high school is rolling. They take to Cady and walk their new friend through the school’s societal minefield, including the Plastics; a group of three most popular girls in school. They’re led by the evil ‘Queen Bee’ Regina George (portrayed Rachel McAdams), with the super rich Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and ignorant beauty Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried) as her sidekicks.
Janis and Damian warn Cady against the girls from hell. However, Cady's innocent good looks also bring her to the attention of Regina, and when she invites Cady to join the Plastics’ table, Janis urges Cady to be a spy and get inside information for the campaign to destroy Regina. Cady witnesses Regina’s cruelty towards other girl, even finds out that the Plastics have this book called ‘Burn Book’ where they write mean things about other girls in their grade. But it’s not until Cady experiences the cruelty herself when she finally goes all-in with Janis’ plan. It’s Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett), Cady’s classmate in Calculus whom she got a crush on. Unfortunately he’s also Regina’s ex-boyfriend. And when Regina finds out that Cady likes him, she takes Aaron back into her arms, right after telling Cady that she’s cool with Cady liking Aaron. And so, the divide-and-conquer plan to sabotage Regina’s reign begins to take shape. As Cady infiltrates and enters the ‘girl world’, she ruefully questions its existence while happily caught in its gravitational pull.


source: imdb.com

One thing about the social life of high school is, and this especially applies to teenage girls, the gravitational pull of having a clique; a certain peer group that suits us well. Female teenagers, I must say, live like a wolf, and wolves live in a pack. A lone wolf won’t survive in the harsh life of jungle called high school. However, in this ‘girl world’, the rules are more complicated than it seems. First of all, there’s no such thing as real secret in this ‘girl world’. Everytime you say “It’s a secret” to someone, that someone will say “It’s a secret” too to everyone. So basically there’s no secret at all, like we can find from the interaction of Cady and Regina and Gretchen and Karen. Gossips and rumours are spreading faster than a virus. In ‘girl world’, even walls can speak. Second of all, there’s a stereotype that being fabulous means being evil. It’s kind of like a law of nature in the ‘girl world’. More evil they are, more fabulous they’re gonna be, and vice versa. When actually, on the other hand, what girls actually look up to is not about being evil, but being fierce; to stand up for your pack to matter what. And those two are very different things.
Regina takes the ‘being fierce’ thing to the extreme. She stands up for Gretchen, for example, yes indeed, but she does that by hurting another person, in a very cruel way; smart, but cruel. When actually, she can do that with a more elegant way, without hurting anyone else. I note what their teacher, Ms. Norbury (portrayed by Tina Fey) says, “You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores.” And she got the damn right point. Remember, what makes us different from animals is that we have mind, to think, to behave, and to have an attitude. And this leads to another thing in ‘girl world’, well that makes the third of all, is that it’s always the spirit of feminism, which sometimes they don’t understand the true meaning of it. Gretchen says to Cady after finding out she likes Aaron, “Irregardless! Ex-boyfriends are just off limits to friends. I mean, that’s just like, the rules of feminism!” Well, darling, that’s not feminism, and please, Cady and Regina aren’t friends to begin with.


source: imdb.com

So, this thing about ‘no dating bestfriend’s ex-boyfriend’ is really applied, and it must be applied, in some cliques, in order to maintain the peace and balance of the ‘girl world’. Well, there are exceptions, of course, special cases. Take from Cady and Regina for example. Despite the fact that they’re not actual bestfriends to begin with, Regina only takes Aaron for granted. She cheated on him and dumped him, but when she knows another pretty girl falls for him, she takes him back out of jealousy, but still cheats on him. So I don’t see any reason why Cady should back off of him unless he doesn’t like her back. Well, in ‘girl world’, a thing that somebody else wants is more valuable than what we actually need. However, in the end, Regina admits to Cady that, “You know Aaron really does like you. He’s always talking about how unusual you are and it really pissed me off. Like this one time, I got this really expensive doll house from Germany, but I never played with it. So my mom wanted to give it to my cousin. But even though I didn’t want it, I didn’t want anyone else to have it. But that’s just me.”
Just like that, in the end, the fabulous ones are they who are brave enough to admit their mistakes and ask for apology. And that’s probably the greatest thing ones could ever learn in the ‘girl world’; a great thing for life, for the real one. Because eventually, everyone needs a clique. And ones can’t stand in a clique unless they understand the true meaning of being fabulous. It’s not about being mean towards the enemy of our friends. It’s not about being famous for our evilness and cruelty. It’s about being brave to stand up for what you think is right, without hurting somebody else’s feeling and privacy. After all, teenage girls are wolves; they need to live in a pack. And through their own pack, they find who they truly are. It’s the deal of being an adolescence anyway; a journey of process to define themselves. And in the ‘girl world’, as well as in the real life, a selection of nature applies; people with same frequency will find one another and stick together, while the ones with different frequency will break apart and find their own cliques. And don’t forget to live every day as if we might suddenly be hit by a school bus.


source: imdb.com

The screenplay of “Mean Girls” was written by Tina Fey, who also co-star in the movie. It was based on the nonfiction book titled “Queen Bees and Wannabees”, written by Rosalind Wiseman. The screenplay was highly praised by critics, with Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calling it a ‘comic gold’. The movie received generally positive reviews from critics, who labeled it as Lindsay Lohan’s and Amanda Seyfried’s breakthrough performances, as it was Seyfried’s debut performance in film. “Mean Girls” had developed a cult following since its release. Many slanks were born through this movie, such as ‘grool’ (great and cool) and ‘fetch’. The fans even declared October 3rd as the International Mean Girls Day, referring to the scene when Aaron asks Cady about what day it is. Among the many, “Mean Girls” is definitely one of the best teenage movies of all time. Seriously, it’s hard not to be impressed with this movie. So, in this holiday, It’s not pointless to rewatch it again if you’ve watched it. And if you haven’t watched it, just watch, and have a great time.


Regina: “You’re, like, really pretty.
Cady: “Thank you.
Regina: “So you agree?
Cady: “What?
Regina: “You think you’re really pretty?
Cady: “Oh, I don’t know.
(Mean Girls, 2004)

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