Those in high school knew it was a movie that summed up the experience almost perfectly. It was a film that could be watched over and again by teens and even young adults because it seemed to make so much sense. A teen girl moved from her sheltered, home-schooled life in Africa to a populous American city where she attended a local high school and suddenly found out that, surprise, surprise, teens are not always all that nice to each other – particularly teen girls. Before she knew it, she was getting sucked down with the popular girls who had a bunch of rules and were mean to everyone – including each other. It was like it could not be helped.
An important lesson was learned by everyone who viewed this movie. Lessons about being true to yourself and being kind to others ran rampant through the plot. That was ten years ago today, and it is now the Mean Girls’ 10th anniversary. Ten years down the road and the film is still one of the most oft-quoted, well-loved hit films among teens and young adults. Despite where some of the stars of the film are now, many have taken a look back at the film to reflect on what is arguably one of the most important and relevant teen movies ever made and the legacy it has left.
Stars of the film, its creator and writer, Tina Fey, never expected Mean Girls to become such a success or an instant hit when it was released into theatres on April 30, 2004. They did not expect that it would leave such an impression on teens either, or that people would be making a big deal of taking a look back at it ten years down the road. However, the film hit close to home for a lot of young people when it touched on sensitive subjects such as bullying and peer pressure, some rather taboo issues which had not been explored in much depth in any other mainstream teen films up until that point. Today, at the time of the Mean Girls’ 10th anniversary, the movie has made $121 million worldwide at the box office.
Fey said in an interview that she visited her old high school to gather inspiration for the film back when she was writing the script in the early 2000s. There, she said, she observed angry, mean, and bitter behaviors by students toward their peers. Fey commented that she felt it was going on for no apparent reason, and it not only reminded her of her own high school days from the past, but it also provided her with a lot of material for the upcoming film.
Lizzy Caplan, who starred as outcast Janis in the film, commented on the longevity of the film, saying that it is starting to span another generation. Many people who watched it in their teens are now in their mid-to-late 20s, or entering into their early 30s. Caplan says that, on the sets of later films she has worked on, she has had crew members approach her with DVD copies of Mean Girls, requesting that she sign them for their daughters.
Fey also says that, due to the major success of the film, a Mean Girls musical is in the “early development” stages. As the film’s 10th anniversary is today, people are taking a good look back at the film. Fey had hoped some sort of musical version would have been out by this time, but she says that they are now shooting for one to be out before the film’s 15th anniversary.
Opinion by Laura Clark