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There’s something about the eternal angst of youth that will always ring eternal…
The year of 1985 marks one of those seminal moments in cinema that this critic has actually never watched until now and it is actually making him wonder why as The Breakfast Club is one of those films that captures the frustration of youth that transcends generations and any given time period. It could have easily been a train wreck but it’s the magic that is John Hughes which actually keeps it all together.
The Breakfast Club brings together an assortment of the archetypes of adolescence that we’ve all known and can relate to in our lives. There’s the uptight popular girl (Molly Ringwald), the stoic jock (Emilio Estevez), the foulmouthed rebel (Judd Nelson), the virginal bookworm (Anthony Michael Hall) and the eccentric recluse (Ally Sheedy). During a Saturday detention we see them shed their predetermined personae that high school expects of them and evolve into something that none of them every really expected…friends.
Serving as a very cognisant reminder that we lost writer/director John Hughes far too soon; The Breakfast Club is far from a perfect film but it does manage to encapsulate the idea that we all have to go through in our youth; that our superiors and those senior to us…are just as messed up as we are.
It was only his second of eight films, but Hughes has a channel on to the mindset of teenagedom with shocking aplomb. It’s not a film that’s going to come to any shocking revelations but it’s not supposed to, which is actually the biggest point that the film tries to make. When we are of that age we truly felt misunderstood by the world around us and any problems that any of may have are the first time that they are happening to anyone in the history of time…but when we ultimately learn that isn’t necessarily the case, it’s a formative moment. Hughes allows us to embrace that necessary emotional horror that we all have to embrace because it’s not about accepting or justifying the horrible things that go on, it’s about learning to accept them. It’s a film that thrives on its genuine candor rather than tired or expected tropes and that’s why it works.
The ensemble is the genuine key to whole affair as it isn’t one person or one performance that rises above the rest…it’s the combination of them all. Judd Nelson as the spearhead to it all shakes the group to its core, while Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall fill out the entire spectrum of kids from all walks of life looking for an escape from the monotony and the delusion that is everyday life as they strive for something more. And by more, they just want to be noticed and accepted and not get sucked into life which they ultimately feel like will turn on them just like it has for their parents and the people who run their school. While high school is a social hierarchy, both the teachers and the students are exactly the same…that’s kind of why we go to high school. The education is an aside, it’s the social lessons that can only be learned when interacting with others and finally being honest with those around you.
The Blu-Ray looks great working from a new 4K restoration and includes a feature length audio commentary track with actors Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson, new interviews with Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, a new video essay crafted from John Hughes production notes, read by Judd Nelson. There’s also a documentary about the film, over 50 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, rare promotional interviews excerpts from a 1985 AFI seminar with John Hughes, a 1999 radio interview with John Hughes, a 1985 clip from NBC’s Today show, an audio interview with Molly Ringwald from ‘This American Life’, the theatrical trailer as well as an essay in the booklet from author and critic David Kamp.
The Breakfast Club is about those life lessons that we all learn, when we stop trying to be who we think we should be and end up finding who we actually are. It’s easier said than done, but an obviously important and rewarding experience.
- Release Date: 1/3/2018