The Breakfast Club

There have been plenty of films that have all claimed to understand the teenage psyche, but few that actually lived up to the claim. The Breakfast Club, directed by John Hughes, would fall under the few that live up to understanding the teenage dilemma. While other 'teen movies', like Superbad, attempt to relate to teenagers through humor - most of which isn't even funny - this film doesn't belittle its teenage audience by acting like everything is a dandy comedy. It isn't, and the fact that The Breakfast Club acknowledges this puts much higher, in terms of quality, than most teen films.

In the film, we follow five high school students on a Saturday detention, each being a member of a different high school clique. As the five of them go through their seven-hour punishment, though, they begin to bond with one another and realize that each is deeper than their respective stereotype. It may sound sappy, but the success for this film lies in its execution. It can be just as humorous as it can be dramatic, blending together into a solid production.

For those looking for plot, though, don't come to this film expecting much. The Breakfast Club doesn't need breakthrough revelations or a stirring plot, as character is the true focus for the film and it shows tremendously. In fact, with the exception of the very beginning and end (plus the hallway sequence), this entire film takes place in a school library. It doesn't need to leave or go anywhere, as all the true drama takes place within these characters' interactions. Speaking of which, the film has an ear for teenage talk. It shows that teenagers don't talk like Judd Apatow characters or American Pie characters...at least, not all of them. Or, in simpler terms, not all teens curse like sailors and talk about sex 100% of the time.

We're given plenty of time to love each individual in their own quirky way, and this aids in making the characters go from standard to memorable. Each one is interesting in their own way, and the film makes it so that you can at least partially identify with one of the five members of the "Breakfast Club". There's the athlete, the preppy girl, the brain, the rebel, and the shy/artistic one. Yet, at the same time, each has their own respective problems and personalities to show that each is a deeper being than the label of "jock" or "prep". The film is to be praised for such maturity, as well as the great execution of its message in cinematic form.

Another interesting thing to note about the film is how well it's aged. Usually, when watching a teen-orientated film from the 1980's, it's age can be seen in a rather embarrassing way. The style, the slang, all of it seems so 80's that it's hard to put it into a modern-day connotation. However, with a few minor exceptions, this film could just as easily take place today as it could have taken place in the 1980's. The dialogue isn't laden with pop-culture, nor is it cheesy in any way, which only adds to the film's timeless message. Because, despite what some may tell you, the problems teenagers face haven't changed at all - just given a face-lift due to the cultural change.

The film's not without some noticeable problems, however. It's mostly minor stuff, such as the film's pace being quite slow during the start of the film. One of the major problems I have with the film, however, was the decision to add romance into the cards. Nowhere in the film is it indicated AT ALL that romance is developing between some of the main characters. Nowhere. Yet the film adds it in anyway, as if trying to 'fit in' with other teen films despite thematically insisting that it's alright to be different. this romance hits the character of Allison, my personal favorite, the hardest, because it's as if the film is saying she needs to have romance in order to be emotionally validated. At the same time, though, I at least like that the film put the most unlikely people together to how that anyone, regardless of background, can have a chance at romance. That, and it's executed quite fairly for what it's worth.

The Breakfast Club is one of those coming-of-age/teen films that accomplishes what it sets out to do - relate to teens while taking into consideration some serious subject matter. Granted, it's got some flaws in its design, but the film shines for what it does right. Charming, funny, and honest, The Breakfast Club is a teen film at its finest.

8.25/10 - Great





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