Making the Grades
Navigating the minefield of high school can be a tricky business at the best of times. But for Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), being a new kid at North Shore High makes it all the harder.
Growing up in the African backcountry where her parents worked as zoologists, Cady was taught at home. Now the 16-year-old is heading into the public school system. Unaware of the harsh social order that dictates everything from lunchroom seating arrangements to the latest fashion trends, the newcomer finds herself fumbling to fit in until she is befriended by two artsy outcasts, Janis and Damian.
Dressed in Gothic black, Janis (Lizzy Caplin) is keenly aware of what one bad rumor can do to topple a reputation. Spurned by the fashionable clique known as the ?plastics?, she and her gay friend Damian (Daniel Franzese), realize the pretty and intelligent Cady is the weaponry they need to wreak revenge on the school's Queen Bee and her trendy group.
After Regina (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen (Lacey Chabert) and Karen (Amanda Seyfried)--the school's most popular trio--invite her to sit at their designated lunch table, Cady agrees to play along with Janis' plan to dethrone the beauties.
However, a conflict begins when Cady falls for Regina's ex-boyfriend, Aaron (Jonathan Bennett). Breaking a cardinal rule of the ?plastics?, Cady is soon on the receiving end of Regina's wrath. But by now she's learned enough nasty tactics from the mean-spirited girls to launch her own cruel campaign.
Warmongers and tyrants could take lessons on stratagem and intrigue from these ingenious Juniors who fully understand the social politics of the high school landscape. Before long their feud of hurtful words has escalated to include every girl in the class.
But despite the attempt at realism, the film falls short when it comes to consequences. Rising from a virtual unknown to the pinnacle of popularity, Cady crashes into the depths of scandal when she is accused of pushing a girl in front of a bus. Although she has snubbed her real friends, lied to her peers and falsely accused a teacher of drug trafficking, her return to acceptance is surprisingly simple.
Money, good looks and power of popularity shouldn't prevent these Mean Girls from paying for their actions. However they do seem to contribute to a well-padded and short-lived fall from grace. Tackling the topic of teenage trauma is a worthy undertaking, but the finale of this film comes off a bit too glossy and lighthearted.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Mean Girls.
Based on the bestseller, Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence, the smart and matter-of-fact script addresses the unkind realities teens often have to face, including cliques, bullying, graphic sexual conversations, name calling and the spread of unfounded rumors. Although cliques are often maligned, why are they so common, especially in school settings? Are there any advantages to belonging to a group?
How do the girls interactions with one another differ from the boys? How does Regina maintain her position of power among her friends and in the school? What elements or personal traits contribute to her popularity?
Girl empowerment, often portrayed as increased sexuality and crudeness, is a prevalent theme in much of entertainment today. Despite that, what game does Cady play to win Aarons attention? What qualities do you think portray real strength in female characters?