The Perfect Breakfast.
The Breakfast Club, directed by John Hughes, is a phenomenal classic. This 1985 American comedy-drama is a must-see film. We get to see an inside look at social cliques that exist in high school. Filmed in 1985, we still see cliques of all sorts in schools, and even in places of work or communities. We see a few different themes throughout the film, including dissatisfaction, friendship, family, and identification.
A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel, and a recluse all meet for the first time in detention on Saturday morning. In the opening scenes of this film, we are introduced to Claire (Molly Ringwald) who is the princess, Andrew (Emilio Estevez) who is known as the athlete, John (Judd Nelson) the criminal, Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) who has the brains and Allison (Ally Sheedy) as the basket case. The film begins with everyone sitting in a classroom on Saturday morning for detention. The teacher tells them to stay put and think about their wrongdoings. Well they did everything but exactly that.
We see many different themes, the first of many being dissatisfaction. Every character we see in this movie is struggling to accept what they have. The problem that exists is that everyone wants to be someone they are not and can’t come to accept who they truly are. They all realize they are labeled with some sort of stereotype that separates them from the people who sit in the same room as them. We are shown five high school students and soon pick up the fact that none of them are satisfied with their lives at the moment. Everyone wants something they don’t have in life, instead of appreciating what they already have.
Another important theme we see is just how important friendship is. Friendship doesn’t have a label on it. Just because social hierarchies exist doesn’t mean that you have to conform to the “norms” that are being thrown at you. Five high schoolers who spend their whole Saturday morning together soon realize that this is the first time any of them have actually talked to each other. There is no reason that they can all be friends now, but when things are “back to normal” they will go back to how things used to be. However, they will always know each other as “the breakfast club”.
While learning more about each others lives in detention, they soon realize that they all struggle with family issues. The teens realize they have one thing in common with each other: they don’t want to make the same mistakes their parents made. While family is important, their family struggles are one of the things that bring everyone to come together on a deeper level. This opens up a great discussion about how everyone is lead to believe that they will turn out to be just like their mom and dad one day. In some cases this may not be a bad thing, unless you are any of these five kids. Claires parents are on the edge of a divorce and use her to get back at one another. Andrews father pushes him to be the perfect athlete, and Brain is pressured by his parents to get straight A’s and nothing but that. It could be worse though. You could be Allison who gets neglected completely by her family, or John who comes home to curel and uncarring adults every day. Moral of the story, none of these teens enjoy their home life which makes it easy for them to all bond over.
Claire and Brian are embarrassed of their virginity and Allison is a compulsive liar. These characters all obtain what we could say are tragic flaws. As the day goes on, they soon realize that sometimes your identity forces you to perform certain actions that you would not personally do. They smoke marijuana and disobey the teacher's instructions to stay put in the classroom. However, your identity defines who you are. Even though there will be people and situations that influence how you act and what you like, you will always have control over your own identity. Are we destined to our identities? It’s hard to say, but it seems as though in this particular film that it is something the main characters could agree upon. They all think they are supposed to be a certain way because of their family, or social status.
Hughes already created a stellar film Sixteen Candles which also starred Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. I personally think these two specific actors work very well together and do an amazing job in both of these films. I love watching both of them on screen at the same time. I for one, still believe that there is no film that will ever demonstrate the cliques, struggles, and relationships within a high school better than The Breakfast Club did.
While there was a set scrip for this film, a lot of the actors practiced improv in the making of the film. Turns out, Hughes likes some of the things the actors came up with and kept it for the movie. Does this imply that the film is just that more real? The actors in the movie made this an outstanding film by using their own personal experiences and feelings.
Similar films such as The Giver and Pitch Perfect have comparative themes to The Breakfast Club. Today’s high school coming of age films are more than likely based off of ideas that are presented in The Breakfast Club. One of the reasons this film was so succesful and set such a high bar for future films just like it, is because Hughes took the teenagers and their problems seriously. He understood the concept that teens go through things that most adults will not understand or relate to.
In the 80’s, these kinds of films were viewed as more of a teen drama, than todays creation of a dystopia fantasy. The audience perception of how these films were made in the 1980’s vs the early 2000’s has changed only minimally, but at the same time, changed pretty significantly. Only the newer technology and the things teens do for fun now-a-days have changed, we still see similar cliques and personal issues that existed in the 80’s in todays high school settings as well.
Pitch perfect, directed by Jason Moore, relates to some of the themes we are exposed to in The Breakfast Club. Pitch Perfect, released in 2012, has a focus on college students who are a part of the campus’ acapella groups. Starring Anna Kendrick, we see her character, Beca, struggle with her own identity. She goes to college as a so called loner with lack of social skills. She enjoys making DJ tracks on her laptop, wishing her father would support her DJ-wanna-be carrer. Becas father encourages her to be more socially involved on campus which drives her to eventually become part of the all women singing group, known as The Bellas. Becas new hobby and they people she meets while doing it have a big influence on who she is becoming as a person.
The ways in which this movie’s theme of identity differs from The Breakfast Club’s, is that beca is embracing a social role instead of trying to hide from an old one. Beca takes on the challenge of becoming a better person by adding new things into her life, whereas the five main characters in The Breakfast Club are striving to become better people by getting rid of something they are unsatisfied with in their lives.
While trying something new to try and make her father proud of her, Beca continues to DJ and be who she is — she never loses her sense of identity, she only adds characteristics that make her more significant. This is something we don’t see in The Breakfast Club. We see the characters in The Breakfast Club struggle to agree with and understand their parents thought processes, but we don’t technically see them trying to do anything to change it. They accept that they are who they are and they do as their paretns say even if they don’t agree and are unhappy with who they are. This is where we see the loss of finding your true identity.
Pitch Perfect, an outstanding film filled with comedy, romance, friendship and teamwork. If you enjoy drama-filled groups of friends who love to sing competitively, this is definitely a movie for you.