Release year: 1984
Director: John Hughes
Screenwriter: John Hughes
Starring: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling, Haviland Morris, John Cusack, Gedde Watanabe, Blanche Baker
A girl’s sweet sixteenth is supposed to be special, but that is not the case for Sam (Ringwald). Her entire family, including granparents, seems to have forgotten her big day and the boy she secretly loves, doesn’t know she exists.
When it comes to teen insecurity know when hit the nerve better than writer/director John Hughes. This he already showed with Sixteen Candles, his directorial debut, but he further established it with teen classics likes Ferris Bueller’s Day off (1986) and not at lest, the excellent The Breakfast Club (1985), by many considered the finest teen movie made. But already in this compassionate coming-of-age film, did he show his understanding of the teen anxiety and the strong emotions inside the young hormonal bodies. A more serious take on the teen comedy, Sixteen Candles is hardly without humour, only it is mostly found in small peculiarities, particular an excellent Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values, 1993) having her own show taking place in the background. The red-headed Ringwald plays the angsty teenager with credibility, in every scene proving why she became Hughes muse and starred in three more of his movies. She is cute enough to bag prince charming and has enough edge to keep the sympathy of the crowd. Her romance with Schoeffling (Mermaids, 1990) is believable and sweet but there is more heart in her interaction with her geeky admirer. Hall did such an amazing job playing geek, that he ended up cast in the role more than once, but being remembered for playing geeks with heart and a humanity far from the stereotype nerds often seen in teen movies, is far from a bad thing. Talking about stereotyping, it is also refreshing seeing sensible parents, especially the tender moments Hughes gives us between father and daughter. Sixteen Candles isn’t the best by Hughes, but only because he has made such teen masterpieces that the competition is crazy high.
There are some cut scenes where Long Duk Dong and his Sexy Girlfriend go to a drive-in restaurant and cause a bit of trouble. These scenes were later cut, but it explains why there is a tray on the side of grandpa’s car.
Picture copyright: UIP