Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mean Girls

Bibliographic Information: Micheals, L.  [Producer], & Waters, M. [Director].  (2004).  Mean girls [Motion Picture].  USA: Paramount Pictures. 

Plot Summary: At the age of 16, Cady Heron enters the public school system for the first time in her life. Having recently moved back to the U.S from Africa, Cady is slow to understand the customs of the average high school student. Making friends with Janis and Damien, two outcasted students, Cady quickly learns that the school is rife with different social groups-- all of which are are "ruled" by the "Plastics." Soon after Cady catches the attention of the "Plastic" Queen Bee and she, Janis, and Damien devise a plan to infiltrate the "Plastics" as a means of revenge for all past wrong doings.

In the end, Cady finds that playing "Plastic" means becoming "Plastic" and must deal with the consequences of living a double life. 

Critical Evaluation: The motif of being plastic or being a "Plastic" is repeated throughout the entire movie. This idea of being plastic is a remark on society's need to be perfect in all senses: beauty, appearance, clothing etc. Being plastic puts an impossible standard of perfection on each of the characters in the movie, basically draining them of the emotions and imperfections that make them average high school students. Cady represents the transition from unencumbered high school student to obsessive "plastic." It is not until Cady sees the ramifications of her "Plastic" identity that she begins to soften and notice the ways in which she has hurt those who mean most to her. Ultimately, being plastic or a "Plastic" is a complete divorce from the emotions and flaws that make people genuine. 

Mean Girls

Reader’s Annotation: Braving the wilds of high school, high school student, Cady Heron, learns that being genuine is more important than being perfect.
Information About the Director: Mark Waters was born June 30, 1964 in South Bend, Indiana (Tribute, 2012). He attended the University of Pennsylvania and spent time studying theater (Tribute, 2012). Waters graduated in 1986 and soon after moved to San Francisco (Tribute, 2012). Waters' first movie success was House of Yes in 1997 (Tribute, 2012). 

Some other films by Waters: Head over heels (2001), Freaky Friday (2003), Just Like Heaven (2005),  Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009) (Tribute, 2012). Waters received the Franklin J. Schaffner Award by the American Film Institute (Tribute, 2012).

Contemporary, Romance, Comedy

Curriculum Ties: Could tie into a lesson on bullying, friendships, and high school life.

Booktalking Ideas:

1). Is Cady still just pretending to be plastic at the end of the movie?

2). What function does bullying play in the movie?

Reading Level/Interest Age: PG-13, mature content suitable for 15 and older. 

Challenge Issues: Does include sex, some strong language, and bullying. I would use the following items to defend this movie if it was challenged:

1) Refer to Library Bill of Rights, see items: I, II, and III (
2) Refer to San Diego Public Library collection policy - (  Original site: The American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read/View Statement (
3) Refer to California School Library Association (CSLA), Model School Library Standards - September 2010 ( PDF: (
4) Refer t0 American Association for School, Librarians Standards for the 21st Century Learner (
5) Contact Office of Intellectual Freedom for any further support, 800-545-2433, ext. 4223 or
6) Refer to legitimate book reviews, such as: School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book and others; found on either Academic Search Premier, Follett's TITLEWAVE, or

Why did you include this movie in the titles you selected?:
This movie focuses on the important issue of bullying in high schools and may help teens better understand the effects of bullying on their peers. It also breaks down society's pressure to be "perfect" and "popular."

Reference Page:  (2012).  Mark Waters biography.  Retrieved July 15, 2012 from

Cover art:

Paramount Pictures.  (2004).  Mean girls poster.  Retrieved July 15, 2012 from

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