Movie Review: The Breakfast Club (VHS/DVD)
Originally released in 1985, The Breakfast Club tells the story of five teens from different high school cliques reporting to a Saturday detention: Andrew Clark (played by Emilio Estevez), Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), John Bender (Judd Nelson), Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), and Aly Sheedy (Alison Reynolds). To each other, Principal Vernon (Paul Gleason), and the school janitor Carl (John Kapelos), the teens are nothing more than an athlete, a princess, a criminal, a brain, and a basketcase. However, as the teens serve their time, they learn they are more than what their labels suggest.
One of the best things in the film is its timeless messages to teens and adults. For both groups, it seems to simply be the saying, “There’s more to people than meets the eye.” However, different things are addressed for each group. With adults, especially parents, the film is trying to get them to see the angst that can result from neglect or forcing an identity on a teen. As for the message to teens, the film is encouraging them to realize that while everyone may be in different cliques, they are all trying to figure out who they are.
Besides the messages themselves, the ways they were delivered were memorable. One way was through lines and quotes. For instance, at the very beginning of the film there is a quote from David Bowie that perfectly sums up the teens’ inner turmoil. Also, a line from Aly Sheedy that goes, “When you grow up, your heart dies.” poignantly expresses the teens’ fears of turning into their parents. Another creative way the messages were displayed was through music. A notable song from the film is the song “We Are Not Alone”, which was a good choice for the teens’ dancing celebration of their realizations.
In addition to the film’s messages, some of the acting was incredible. Out of all the actors playing the teens, Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez shine the brightest. Their verbal and physical interaction scenes, such as when Andy sticks up for Claire, were well done. They shine by themselves too. With Nelson, it is the impressions scene of Brian and John’s home lives. With Estevez, it is the confession circle scene and the scene where Andy is really high on smoke. Besides the teens, Paul Gleason played a great principal. His best scene involves him trying to provoke John Bender.
Overall, the film was very entertaining. I recommend that teens and adults watch the film together so they can discuss its relevance to today’s generation.
Here is the Impressions scene with Judd Nelson (as John Bender, the guy in red)