The Breakfast Club

Kinda like Moby Dick if the ship was detention and the whale was an asshole teacher. Or like a retelling of the origin of the United States – the castoffs from the old world rebelling against their elders and writing a new constitution. The twist being that their new fellowship will collapse at the start of the following week.

If the film is supposed to represent America in microcosm, it's not a particularly diverse one when it comes to ethnicity or sexuality. There are however some broad brushstroke explorations of class, where delinquency is peeled back to reveal an abusive or uncaring family environment. That shouldn’t excuse the behaviour, which Molly Ringwald has written about here. Bender gets the hero shot at the end of the film, and he doesn’t deserve it.

Where Hughes is on stronger ground is how he shows the male characters burdened with a very oppressive view of masculinity, involving frequent instances of threats, fights and homophobia. Andrew’s long confession lays bear the emotional scars patriarchy can leave on teenage boys – his ‘old man’ almost belongs in the Old Testament with Abraham, Lot and the other patriarchs.

The film was shot in sequence, which is surprising as it feels like a collection of disparate scenes that have no follow through. Characters scream at each other in one moment and are thick as thieves the next. The pairing up at the end makes zero sense to the modern viewer, particularly Ringwald's character hooking up with the guy who has relentlessly harassed her for the last 8 hours. It’s bizarre, and goes to show that the film, and Hughes's sensibilities, have aged very badly indeed.

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