The Breakfast Club Film Review: Done by Rancel
The Breakfast Club (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] (1985) Amazon.com
The Breakfast Club Film Review: Description
The Breakfast Club film came out in 1985 and was a box office success for the director John Hughes. This Drama/Comedy film went on to be a classic and is considered one of the greatest teen oriented movies of all time. The Breakfast Club film has Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy in it. As everyone knows by now the actors I listed, are members of the “Brat Pack“.
The Breakfast Club Film Review: Summary
The Breakfast Club film is a tale about five high school students, John Bender (Judd Nelson), Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), and Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald). The students are sentenced to Saturday detention on March 24, 1984 at Shermer High School in the Chicago suburb of Shermer, Illinois. The five students aren’t complete strangers to one another, but they do not associate with each other during school days. They all have differentiating social status within the school. They seemingly have nothing in common, since Bender is called “the criminal”, Andrew is the “athlete”, Allison is the “basket case, Brian the “brain”, and Claire is the “Princess”.
For the remainder of the time in detention they are ordered by assistant principal, Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason) not to speak or move from their seats or sleep. Richard Vernon also tells them they must complete 1,000-word essay in which each student must write about who he or she thinks they are. Vernon randomly returns to the library where the students serve their detention, to check on them. For the amount of time these students spend together in this detention, they pass the hours arguing, mocking each other, Bender harassing Claire, and smoking marijuana. Bender, who has a particularly negative relationship with Vernon, gets scolded by Vernon during his visits to the Library.
As the day goes on, the students gradually open up to each other, revealing their troubles they have been through. Through this opening up period, the five students realize they are all not much different from each other, in terms of teen angst and family relationships. For example, Allison is a compulsive liar, Andrew hates his father, Bender comes from an abusive household, Brian has contemplated suicide, and Claire is a virgin. Once they all get to know each other better, they fear that they will emulate some of the mistakes the adults have made around them. They also fear that once detention is over, because of social status that they will never speak to each other again. Brian completes the essay by the end of the day and at 4pm leaves it on Vernon’s desk, titled “The Breakfast Club”.
The Breakfast Club Film Review: The Review
The Breakfast Club film is one of the best portrayals of teen high-school life ever. When you watch this film, whether you are currently a teenager, or if you are already an adult, and remember what it was like for you back in high school. You will find each of these characters portrayed by the actors in the film as something you can relate to or notice one of the characters as someone you knew as a teen. It is a realistic portrayal of the lives of teenagers in America. The geek, the jock, the outcast/emo girl, the rich pretty girl snob, and the rebel/future criminal all exist in every classroom in high schools across America.
The character development shown in The Breakfast Club film is very good. Every character has different facets to them. When the end of the film comes around they all change for the better. Whether or not this change to them is permanent is left up in the air. The director John Hughes did a great job writing the script. The performances by “The Brat Pack” members Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy are all well done. They all seem to be very comfortable in their roles. Each character will touch you in some way.
Judd Nelson, who does his best performance as John Bender comes off in the beginning as an out of control jerk. Gradually as the film progresses you see a human side to him. He is what I describe as the poor kid that hangs out with a bad crowd (headbanger), does drugs, wastes his potential for having good grades in school, has a bad family life where his dad abuses him physically and emotionally. John Bender does all the bad things he does in the film for attention obviously, since he has nothing else going for him.
He taunts Emilio Estevez and Anthony Michael Hall’s characters in the film, because he wishes he had some of the elements in life they have. Judd Nelson is powerful in the scene where he describes his family life at home after he gets through mocking Brian’s privileged rich boy home life. Andrew then says to him, “Alright let’s hear about your life”. Judd Nelson tells him about the verbal and physical abuse he goes through at the Bender household. He then proceeds to go into a frustrated outburst when Andrew doubts the authenticity of his story. The look on Emilio’s face is priceless, when he gets proven wrong.
I really did not like Emilio’s character Andrew. He was also what you would consider a snob/bully in The Breakfast Club film. I believe Emilio Estevez is only like 5’4, so he doesn’t really look the part as the intimidating superstar wrestler Andrew for his high school. That scene where he confronts Bender for harassing Claire early on in the film is a bit cringe worthy. You look at that and wonder why would Bender back down from this guy and just resort to pulling out his switchblade? Judd Nelson is much taller than Emilio and I have my doubts that Emilio could wrestle him to the ground. Emilio Estevez also had another cringe worthy scene where he is acting like a buffoon while high on marijuana. Despite those two scenes that were bad, he does play the part in realistically as an arrogant high-school jock that is present in American high schools. He does have redeeming qualities though as shown in the scene where he helps Allison get out of her shell by talking to her. He also tells you a lot of his behavior is really not him and more has to do with the pressure his dad puts on him to succeed and be the best.
Molly Ringwald is very beautiful as Claire. I always loved her lips. She fits the role as the rich Prom Princess well. Despite her snobby nature she has a human side as well. You find out, which is much the case with many females like her in American high schools before they fully mature and become adults. That her behavior as a female that wouldn’t give a fellow student the time of day, because of their lower social status. That it is just attributed to the pressures from her peers to conform and it really isn’t due to straight out meanness in her heart. I love her smile she gives to Bender when they are alone together. She shows in that scene and the ending scene where she gives Bender one of her earrings that she isn’t totally superficial and she has a warm heart.
Ally Sheedy who was gorgeous back then before her career was ruined by drug use. I believe her character would be considered the first emo girl? She plays the part of an emotional wreck quite well. I wish her character had a bigger role in the film. She spends half the film not talking. Her character Allison Reynolds was the most interesting of them all. It touches upon many troubles teenagers, especially in this day in age exhibit in the school system. Allison Reynolds has very few friends, dresses in black, bad home life, and isn’t socially confident. I also thought it was cool, when Andrew started to change for the better when the film neared its end that Allison ended up with him after she came out of her shell. I do get the feeling though since their lives after detention is left up in the air that Andrew being the douche bag he is would end up breaking her heart.
As for Brian “the nerd”, Anthony Michael Hall certainly looks the part since he is only 16 when he did this film and is yet to bulk up with the use of steroids. It’s pretty sad that some parents will bully their kids into dressing like this guy with his running sneakers, high water pants, wool long sleeve shirt. They are just introducing their kids into a world of trouble when they enter the world of teen high school life. Despite his nerdy exterior, you find out in the movie that he is a pretty cool guy that you can hang out with as well. Paul Gleason does a good job as an asshole bitter evil adult as the assistant principle. John Kapelos as the Janitor did a good job with his role that I believe that was cut severely. I love the exchange he has with Bender, when Bender is mocking him for being a lowly janitor.
The Breakfast Club film is a classic teen comedy/drama film that is still watchable today. It does have some flaws since you will find the music outdated, although I still like the theme song by Simple Minds, “Don’t you forget about me”. What makes The Breakfast Club film so enjoyable is that applies a variety of themes to its context: tolerance, diversity, social status differences, family life, and group dynamics. The message of this film would be, we are all different, but in many ways we are the same. We should all take the time to look at others and ourselves beyond the surface. You should also check out St. Elmo’s Fire, which featured the same “Brat Pack” members minus Molly Ringwald. Instead of high-school teen life, St. Elmo’s Fire centers on the responsibilities of adult life after college.
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