The Breakfast Club
Release year: 1985
Director: John Hughes
Screenwriter: John Hughes
Starring: Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Paul Gleason, John Kapelos
Five stereotype high school students: the prom queen (Molly Ringwald), the athlete (Emilio Estevez), the nerd (Anthony Michael Hall), the basket case (Ally Sheedy) and the criminal (Judd Nelson), spent a saturday in detention together. As the day goes by the five of them get to know each other and find out, that in the end they may not be that different after all.
John Hughes’s (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986) second film as a director still stands as one of the best teenage movies ever made as well as being seen as the quintessential 1980s film and rightly so. By locking five stereotypes up in a room for a day Hughes skillfully creates an enviroment to show the constant struggle to be understood, and to understand themselves, that teenager experience. As the day goes by things gets heated as the different personalities clash but ultimately the things aired between the teens allows them to get to know each other in a way they never would have outside detention and forces them to take a good honest look at themselves, social structures, expectations and the cruelty of the unwritten rules of high school. Because in the end neither them or their problems differ as much as they thought and whether they want to or not, a bond is created between them. Ringwald (16 Candles, 1984) is mesmerizing as the popular girl struggling to maintain her cool while her perfect surface is slowly cracking. Estevez (Young Guns, 1988) and Sheedy (St. Elmo’s Fire, 1985) are good as the athlete under pressure and the lost girl feeling overseen and forgotten while Hall (Weird Science, 1985) delivers an intense and incredible tender performance as the nerd. It is however Nelson (New Jack City, 1991) who will stay with you longest. Partly because his loud character is the one putting most attention on himself as well as the one who sets everything going with his refusal to back down and his tendency to carefree overstep everyone’s lines with his straight-in-your face question, but also because Neslon’s performance is a raw and detailed one that lets you see the emotions boiling right under the surface where he carefully keeps them while trying to distract anyone getting close to seeing them. Hughes’s movie perfectly captures the tone of the 1980s as well as the conflicted time in your life that being a teenager can be and is a movie that is still as relevant today as when it was released.
The theme song ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me) was written for the film by Keith Forsey and became a number one hit for Simple Minds.
Picture copyright: UIP