BY Will Torrence
To be honest, the reason I haven’t seen The Breakfast Club was probably because of the plot. Watching a movie about five high school students surviving a Saturday detention didn’t really sound that appealing to me. I mean — I have had my fair share of detentions, so why would I want to watch a whole movie about one? It just wasn’t a movie I was excited to experience. But I sat back, made sure I had enough paper for doodling and prepared myself for a 9 hour Saturday detention!
Now first of all, the movie is not 9 hours. It’s actually only around 97 minutes, so don’t let that scare you away. The film is follows the classic stereotypes of students that inhabited every high school in 1985, the year in which the movie was made. The group consists of a brain (Anthony Michael Hall), an athlete (Emilio Esteves), a basket case (Ally Sheedy), a princess (Molly Ringwald), and a criminal (Judd Nelson). These characters appear to have nothing in common except the fact that they have to waste their Saturday in school.
Like I mentioned before, the movie didn’t seem too interesting, but just like in school — if you pay attention, you just might learn something. Well, what I learned is that this is a great movie. This movie is a hit and has a cult following, and it is very easy to see why. The acting is superb with every actor making an emotional script come to life. The soundtrack helps it stay true to the time period with some well-known songs from the mid 80’s. But what really set this movie apart are the characters.
The characters, at first glance, closely resemble the labels that they have and the stereotypes that go along with them. The athlete is centered on winning and receiving a scholarship, with added pressure from his father who adopts the “do whatever it takes attitude.” The princess is completely caught up in planning for prom and worries about her place in the social order. The brain is friends with the janitor and fears that having any grade lower than a B+ will ruin his life. The basket case is a pathological liar who keeps to herself and eats one of the weirdest lunches you will ever see.
The criminal “John Bender” played by Judd Nelson steals the show completely. He is a punk with the stereotypical rotten attitude who seems to say whatever he wants no matter who it pisses off. Yet there are many instances in which he shows his true colors through acts of bravery and kindness. He may be a little misunderstood, but he is the truest character and has, without a doubt, some of the most memorable lines in the film.
This is where you start to realize that there is more to these characters then just their labels. As the movie goes on characters really get to know each other. Problems, fears, and deep secrets are shared as these characters start to bond. What they come to find is that even though their labels and stereotypes are completely different, they actually have a lot in common. That each of them have unique traits that breaks them from the supposed label they were placed into.
This film is more than a Saturday detention. It’s an experience and a life lesson about how you can’t judge someone before you really know them. The characters found true friends and relationships with people they saw as outcasts, dorks, and strangers. This is a lesson that everyone needs to learn and something the audience can really take away from.
The world saw them as they wanted to see them, in the simplest terms with the most convenient definitions — as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. But the world of film will always know them as “The Breakfast Club.”
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