The Breakfast Club Could Have Been Great

It's no secret that I love movies–I'm constantly updating the Current Top 20 Section of my blog, and I spend a lot of time reviewing movies in Letterboxd (as all pretentious cinephiles do). 

Being a fan of the "Detention" episode of Dawson's Creek (S1 Ep 7), The Breakfast Club had been on my watchlist for ages. This week, the day to watch it finally came... and I must say I was very disappointed. 

The movie features five high school student clichés (jock, rich popular girl, nerd, rebel & loner) who get to know each other while serving detention on a Saturday. It's a very dialogue-heavy movie, with the only "action scene" being the one where the kids try to escape from detention without getting cauhgt. 

I enjoyed the lack of story, and the intricate (and well-acted) conversations a lot–especially the one where they all sit in a circle and open up about their insecurities, personal issues, and honest takes on societal dynamics. It's one of the first high school movie scenes I've seen that addresses the realities of peer pressure in such a realistic and crude way.

However, when things were finally getting interesting, viewers are hit with an atrocious ending. There were two particular scenes that left a bad taste in my mouth:

The first one is Allison's makeover. In this scene, Claire (the popular readhead), decides to give emo Allison a makeover: she applies a lot of makeup on her, changes her hairstyle, removes her black eyeliner, and somehow gives her a new outfit (I'm still wondering where that frilly dress came from). While the makeover made me pretty upset, the worst part was the jock's reaction to her new look: he now saw her as attractive–and they even made out! I think everyone can agree that this scene was pretty distasteful–there was no need for Allison to give in to basic societal standards. With that being said, it could be argued that this was just another way for John Hughes (the director) to show viewers the grim realities of high school dynamics. 

The second scene is the one where Claire makes out with Bender. This was also very uncessesary, and to be honest, it did not make any sense at all. Bender (the rebel) spent the entirety of the movie bullying everyone–especially Claire. This scene feeds the stereotype of "girls like badboys", making the Breakfast Club just another corny and banal teenage film. Of course, there are many people who would say that Bender was not really bullying Claire, but was instead trying to help her be more authentic... but to be honest it simply sounds like the start of an abusive relationship. 

In all, I must say the movie's concept was very original and the acting was impressive (especially when the "deep" conversations took place); unfortunately, these qualities cannot redeem the film, for it throws away all creativy and uniqueness with that trite conclusion. Nevertheless, I believe these mistakes are the ones which have inspired subsequent coming-of-age films and tv shows to explore and deconstruct the typical high school clichés.

Source: Rolling Stone

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