The Breakfast Club Review
by K. Ralls
‘Whether you were a teen in the 80s watching it for the first time, or a teen in the 21st century watching this classic, it is a memorable and highly likeable watch.’
Director – John Hughes
Synopsis – The 1985 American teen drama classic follows five polar opposite high schoolers who find themselves in detention on Saturday. Discovering each other’s lives and personal stories, they find out that they have more in common than they expected.
Review – The Breakfast Club is an iconic 80s film that is loved by many. Whether you were a teen in the 80s watching it for the first time or a teen in the 21st century watching this classic, it is a memorable and highly likeable watch.
A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal – we are presented with 5 very different characters who represent the various archetypes that are often present in high school. The general message of the film is that each of these characters are more than their labels and is a reminder to not stereotype people just for the way they present themselves. That is the main reason that I enjoyed this film – it presents the audience with a wholesome (yet quite cliché) message to never judge a book by its cover. Not only that but it covers important issues that some teens tend to face day to day, varying from suicide, depression, a variety of social classes within the characters and physical and emotional abuse. I feel that the representation of these social issues is essential in a teen movie as it is relatable to the main audience of The Breakfast Club – teenagers. I believe that is one of the reasons this film was so popular. These characters resonated with them. Also, of course, the film is an 80s classic that most people have watched so there is that element of nostalgia for the older audience and that element of interest into the 80s for a more recent audience.
However, there are some questionable aspects of The Breakfast Club. Some of the ways that Claire (the princess) was treated by John (the criminal) was extremely inappropriate, ranging from snarky comments to sexual harassment. The main problem with this is that despite John treating Claire in this disrespectful manner, they still kiss at the end of the film and he essentially has “got the girl” which does give the wrong message to teens. The actor of Claire, Molly Ringwald, has even spoken out about this aspect of the film, calling it quite “troubling”, especially in the age of the #MeToo movement. Additionally, it was quite underwhelming at the point where Allison (the basket case) gets a “makeover” by Claire. Rather than keeping Allison’s alternative style, they completely strip her of her individuality and make her into another version of “the princess”. This could, again, give the wrong message to teens who have an alternative style that the only way that they will get accepted into society is if they conform to societal norms.
Overall, despite some of the questionable plot choices in areas of the film, including harassment and the idea of having to conform, I feel like we can challenge them now and actually speak about these issues whilst watching the film. This could include talking about sexual harassment and the treatment of girls with the younger audiences, teaching them that this treatment and the idea of not being able to be yourself is a negative. The leading message of the film, however, is a positive feature as it encourages people to not judge you, no matter how you present yourself and how you live your life. Of course, I recommend The Breakfast Club.
The Breakfast Club is currently available to stream on Prime Video. It has a 15 Age Rating.