‘The Breakfast Club’ is timeless for a reason

PHOTO PROVIDED The cast of “The Breakfast Club” are pictured in a still. They are, from left, Molly Ringwald (Claire), Anthony Michael Hall (Brian), Emilio Estevez (Andrew), Ally Sheedy (Allison) and Judd Nelson (Bender).

Since my colleague decided to pick an 80s movie to review, I thought I’d do the same. And, no, I will not be mean to this one like I was with “Grease” last week.

The other night I decided to give “The Breakfast Club” a watch. This 1985 film was written, directed and produced by popular name John Hughes. Hughes’ work in film extremely recognizable in pop culture, it includes “Pretty in Pink,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and even “Home Alone.”

“The Breakfast Club” takes place during a Saturday detention at Sherman High School. Five students, all from different cliques, are forced to spend 8 hours together under the (sort of) watchful eye of Vice Principal Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason).

The five each represent a classic high school cliche. It includes Claire Standish, the “princess” (Molly Ringwald); the “athlete” Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez); the “brain” Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall); the “basketcase” Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy); and the “criminal” John Bender (Judd Nelson).

We watch as these five teens from different backgrounds — with preconceived notions about each other — are forced to confront the truth. None of them are who they seem. Each one reveals over the eight hour period something new, and often heartbreaking, about themselves.

By the end of it all, they walk away realizing that they aren’t much different from one another.

Although this movie can be a little slow at times, and is extremely dialogue heavy, its message is pretty ageless.

“The Breakfast Club” showcases that, no matter what your background is or who you think a person is, you don’t truly know until you actually interact with them.

We all have our own stories and on the surface they aren’t always obvious. Being trapped in a library (mostly) for eight hours forced these five teenagers to face these facts. All while getting into some shenanigans of course.

With a character like Bender, a clear regular at Saturday detention, they find themselves in a variety of situations. Including the iconic race through the halls of the school, with Vernon seemingly at every turn.

Nelson isn’t the only one to shine in this film. Although his reenactment of Bender’s home life can be pretty hard to see.

Ringwald, to no one’s surprise, does a great job as Claire. It’s pretty obvious that Claire has her own troubles at home, even if they aren’t quite as violent as Bender’s. The pair begin to form a bond. (Side note: I didn’t absolutely love the choice to have these two end up together at the end. I get the cliche of popular girl with outsider… it just didn’t feel the right move to me).

Estevez really showcases the pressures that Andrew faces as a star athlete with a father who can’t shut up about his own glory days. The irony, of course, being that the pressure isn’t always on his athletics — it can even be on his social life.

Hall’s monologue about why Brian’s in detention is absolutely heartbreaking. And it’s something that I’m sure kids who face the pressures of academics may understand. Although the “you’re so conceited Claire” line is a little funny to me (don’t ask me why.)

Last, but certainly not least, is Sheedy as Allison. I’ve always loved Sheedy’s character. Of all the characters, her dialogue was limited. But she played the part of the weird, crazy girl well. The little squeaks and sounds she’d make and her ability to shift from a little unhinged — a slight twinkle in her eye — to very real was well done.

I wasn’t a huge fan of her make over at the end. But I understand that this is an 80s teen movie. And nearly every one needs to include a grand change in someone’s physical appearance.

I also forgot that she and Andrew seem to end up together at the end. Unlike with Claire and Bender, I actually love that concept. The star athlete with the slightly unhinged quiet girl is a trope I wouldn’t mind seeing more of.

Beyond the somewhat dry moments that can peppered between iconic dance scenes and powerful dialogue between characters, “The Breakfast Club” is obviously memorable for a reason. Not to mention, it has a great sound track. I mean, who doesn’t love music from the 80s?

I get the feeling that, if I’d been a teenager when this came out, I’d have loved it even more. I’ll have to ask my mom if that’s true or not.

“The Breakfast Club” is rated R and can be watched on Hulu, YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV, Vudu and Amazon Prime.

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Laura Jameson is Managing Editor of The Express.


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