There are only four iconic teen girl movies, but which one is actually the best?
It’s like choosing my favourite child
Teen girl movies are the elite genre of cinema. Since they began in the early 90s all the way up to the most recent bangers on Netflix, there isn’t a teen girl movie that isn’t sublime. However it must be said there are four teen girl movies that purely outshine the rest. I am of course talking about Mean Girls, St Trinian’s, Wild Child and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.
Clueless, Legally Blonde, She’s The Man – they’re all great, but they don’t even come close to the genius and icon status of the other four.
The thing that really solidifies these four movies at a god tier status is that unlike so many other teen girls movies they’re about groups of friends. Whilst Elle Woods and Cher Horowotiz have friends, they are very much the secondary characters who fade into the background. Whereas with the elite four the thing that tips them over the edge is their complex look at female friendships.
Of course each movie has a “main” character in which the story is centred around – Cady, Annabelle, Poppy and Georgia – but they really don’t feel like the star of the film. The pure joy and magic is watching the girls interact with their friendship group. These movies are a celebration and an examination of the complexities, frustration and love that comes with being part of a teen girl friendship group. Although on the surface they appear to be about boys and bitching, they’re actually about far more than that.
These movies are relatable, smart and funny. But of these four icon status movies, which is truly the best? It’s time to decide:
The OG teen girls movie. Many have and tried and failed to reach the level that is Mean Girls. Maybe because it was one of the first of its kind but Mean Girls really captured something that has been hard to replicate in other movies.
The quotes are timeless and nearly 20 years later I’m still asking myself if butter is a carb. The fashion was peak early 00s and is now coming back around – we would all honestly wear every single one of the Plastics outfits today. And it launched the careers of Amanda Seyfried and Rachel McAdams.
Aside from all those great qualities, the thing that really makes Mean Girls elite are the characters. Regina George is the archetypal villain you love to hate. Gretchen is the rich princess type who actually deep down just wants to be loved. And Karen is an underrated comedic genius.
Despite their bimbo appearance, the Plastics were incredibly clever, witty and scheming. They weren’t just pretty nasty girls, they had depth and layers of insecurities that quite frankly we’ve all felt. The movie captured the essence of what it means to so desperately desire to fit in and be popular during school.
We are of course talking about the first St Trinian’s movie here, let’s just pretend the second one didn’t exist. The movie ends with Girls Aloud performing, what is more iconic than that?
In all seriousness this movie is a classic for a number of reasons. It’s not about finding a boy or petty girl fights, it’s about a bunch of girls who care enough about their school to commit multiple crimes in order to save it.
The different cliques of girls at St Trinian’s is like watching a time capsule of peak 00s culture. And what’s nice is despite little teasing moments, the girls all value each other’s different sets of skills and bring them together to work towards their common goal. There’s no looking down on the Posh Totties for using their looks to get ahead and there’s no teasing of the brainiacs like so many other movies. The girls are all equal and it’s just lovely.
Easily the best scene has to be Annabelle’s makeover. Makeovers are typical for teen girl movies, but there’s just something about Annabelle going from nerdy boring to cool school girl that really gets me. It’s probably the Sugarbabes playing in the background that really sells it as the best teen movie makeover scene ever.
And let’s of course appreciate the scene that is Colin Firth emerging out of the pond in a wet shirt, recreating the classic Mr Darcy moment.
Never have I wanted to recreate a movie scene more than when all the girls go to the charity shop and try on loads of clothes and turn them into proper outfits. It’s teen girl movie magic at its finest – friends laughing, banging soundtrack and amazing costumes. For nine year old me it was the coolest thing imaginable and I still get pangs of jealously watching it today.
This film also has to be credited for introducing many of us to Alex Pettyfer, he’s just yummy tbh. Nearly every scene in the movie is memorable – Poppy jumping off the cliffs, when Poppy says she’ll sue and of course *that* dance she does at the school disco.
For all it’s hilarious and glamours moments, it’s also a really wholesome look at friends being themselves and truly helping each other out. It also just has that magic that comes with setting a teen girl movie in a strict British boarding school, but all the more so because you see a pretentious American trying to navigate weird British things that remind us all what a funny little island this is.
Finally this is easily Emma Roberts’ best role to date. She should have won an Oscar. Just saying.
Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
If Wild Child presents an idealistic look at British girlhood then Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging shows the hilarious reality.
Unlike so many other teen girl movies, what was so great about Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging was how relatable it was. It shows how teenage girls really act – wearing awful outfits to parties, having eyebrow disasters, hosting pizza sleepovers, planning elaborate schemes to try and talk to the boy you fancy and getting chips after school with your mates.
We could all see ourselves in Georgia and the Ace Gang, messing up with a bad fake tan job for example. And though a lot of the film focuses on trying to get a boy, the most important relationship is the friendship between Georgia and Jas. They go through a typical journey of being best mates, drifting when one gets a boyfriend and eventually coming back together because they realise how important their friendship is.
The movie just makes you smile and simultaneously cringe at what teen you was like. Oh and of course it features Aaron Taylor-Johnson, which always improves a movie.