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The rise, fall, and rise again of Alicia Silverstone

The 90s star once tipped to become the biggest name in Hollywood has revived her career in recent years

The rise, fall, and rise again of Alicia Silverstone

Last Updated: 11.51 PM, Oct 05, 2021


The 90s version of the modern-day influencer lifestyle is often forgotten in the era of social media. One of the films that truly captured the essence of the same was Clueless. The movie is a reimagination of Jane Austen’s 19th-century classic novel, Emma, but is set in suburban 90s, Beverly Hills, California. For many reasons it was a landmark film - it introduced the world to current Hollywood star Paul Rudd, but most importantly, it was the film that propelled Alicia Silverstone to overnight stardom. Even though she was a recognisable face after her appearances in three of Aerosmith’s music videos, Crazy, Cryin’, and Amazing in 1993, it was her lead role in Clueless that truly bolstered her position as a formidable talent


Silverstone, who was just 18 at the time, became a household name and a pop culture icon in the US. Clueless would go on to become a genre-defining film that is still regarded as one of the best amongst high-school comedy dramas. She was touted as the next bankable star expected to emulate Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone, or Meg Ryan. Unfortunately for her, a series of events in the form of the unforgiving paparazzi and the forgettable Joel Schumacher film, Batman and Robin, derailed her blossoming career.

The paparazzi’s vile attack regarding her weight gain deeply affected her. It is easy to fathom how it would impact a teenager’s mental makeup, at a time when body-shaming was an accepted norm, especially when reporting on young female celebrities. However, it was her ill-fated role as Batgirl in Batman and Robin, which could be described as one of the worst superhero films of all time, that almost irreparably damaged her reputation. To add insult to injury, she even won a Razzie for her performance. She disappeared from the limelight since and was in relative obscurity for most of the 2000s. She did appear in a few minor roles, but even these roles were far and few between.

The actress turned 45 this week and has enjoyed mini-revival in recent years. Earlier this year it was announced that she would appear alongside Rebel Wilson in a Netflix original film about a woman who wakes up from a coma after 20 years and returns to high school. It is unclear whether Silverstone will be playing the part of the aforementioned woman, but it is symbolic of how her career began with a high-school comedy film with her return to another high-school film after decades of relative obscurity. Of course, she has essayed a few notable roles on television in recent years, but none that grabbed headlines. The one that did grab the headlines, however, is when she was announced as part of the cast alongside Academy Award winner Benicio del Toro, Justin Timberlake, and Michael Pitt’s new upcoming crime-thriller Reptile.

While her comeback may not be as earth-shattering as Eddie Murphy’s renaissance after 2019’s Dolemite is My Name, there are signs she could be involved in further projects in the future, largely thanks to the growing popularity of OTT and streaming services.

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