This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Chris of A Clockwalker Orange. Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Chris! Let’s read his review of The Breakfast Club. 🙂
Director: John Hughes
Screenplay: John Hughes
Cast: Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleanson, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy.
John Hughes had strived and succeeded in creating films which explore the teenage psyche. Their hopes, their dreams, their problems and concerns. The Breakfast Club gives us a delightful, entertaining insight into teenage life and in this respect The Breakfast Club is John Hughes crowning achievement.
Five teenagers Claire, the princess (Molly Ringwald); Andrew, the jock (Emilio Estevez); John, the criminal (Judd Nelson); the brain (Anthony Michael Hall); and Alison, the basket case (Ally Sheedy) are unfortunate enough to have detention on a Saturday. As the day progresses these five strangers begin to become close and confide in one another.
Right off the bat John Hughes sets the theme for the entire film with a quote from David Bowie’s excellent song Changes: “…and these Children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations.They’re quite aware what they’re going through…”. Hughes introduces his characters not necessarily with their name but rather with their social title: Princess, jock, the criminal, the brain and the basket case. Here Hughes signals his intent to demolish these cliches and unearth the people behind these cliches. It is the primary source of entertainment in this film watching these characters cross the social divide and interact with each other with no regard of their standing on the social spectrum. Despite this somewhat serious tone The Breakfast Club is an funny film with their supervising teacher saying cheesy lines like “Don’t mess with the bull young man or you’ll get the horns”. Hughes also at the end addresses the fact that the new relationship between the five may not survive out with this session of detention. There is a feeling amongst the five that they will slip back into how everyone else expects them to behave.
The performances in The Breakfast Club are more than competent with Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson in particular putting in superb performances. The scene in which Estevez confesses the huge amount of pressure his father exerts on him to be “No.1” is my favourite scene of the film. Judd Nelson also impresses, one moment he is imitating one of his school mates and the next he is imitating his abusive father and how get received a cigar burn on his arm for simply spilling paint in the garage. Nelson’s transition here is brilliant and seamless. Credit must go to Hughes for writing a fantastic script with captivating monologues in just two days. Hughes seems to have a skill for writing top-quality scripts in a short amount if time as it took him only six days to write Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.
The Breakfast Club is an outstanding film which through an effective mix of comedy and emotion shows the complexities of teenage life.