Clueless star Alicia Silverstone has become her own kind of Wonder Woman: a woman wondering what the big deal is about Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman, the first female-led superhero movie made in more than a decade, has had a profound effect on audiences since being released in theaters nearly a month ago. It has its flaws, something audiences and critics alike can easily admit, but it’s especially affected women, many who’ve found themselves crying multiple times throughout the movie while watching Diana and her fellow Amazons fight.
For many, Wonder Woman was a cathartic experience and gave them something they never knew they wanted to see. But not everyone felt that way, and some, like Alicia Silverstone, didn’t understand the reaction at all.
“Before Wonder Woman, there have been many movies with female leads,” Silverstone said to Variety at Cannes Lions, where she and Mena Suvari were being interviewed about their American Women pilot. “I mean, so I get a little confused.”
While she acknowledges the lack of female roles in cinema, she pointed to other examples of great female-led movies.
“What about all those wonderful comedians who are females who have had massive hits,” Silverstone explained. “There’s a Bridesmaids… I just feel like, over the years, there was Mean Girls, there was Clueless, over time we have had so many movies that have been female-driven.”
To be fair, there are many female-led films—more nowadays than there were just a couple decades ago—and Clueless, a modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma and a breakout role for Silverstone, remains a fan favorite. Silverstone also played Batgirl in Batman and Robin, one of Hollywood’s few female superhero roles.
But for many audiences, some who love those portrayals of complex female characters in comedies and dramas, there is a massive difference between seeing a fully formed female character on film and seeing a fully formed female character in an action movie.
Despite the large number of women and girls who go to see action movies and superhero movies, it’s still hard to find strong female characters who aren’t the girlfriend or wife, weren’t there just to motivate the hero, or weren’t stuck in stereotypical or sexist roles. Wonder Woman was something completely different, an example of a female superhero who was her own person outside of her love interest, could hold her own in a fight, and was surrounded by strong women her entire life. Any of that on its own is rare in and of itself, but altogether in one film? It’s incredible.