Movie Review: The Breakfast Club

A movie review by Teen Blogger, Jenna

The Breakfast Club. if you haven’t seen it, you have probably heard of it. It’s just one of those classic 80s movies, like Ferris Bueller's Day Off or Footloose. You may wonder how a movie about five students spending a Saturday in detention could in any way be exciting or inspiring enough to capture audiences and become a classic the way it has. But that’s the thing about good movies; they manage to take simplistic situations and transform them into interesting and thematic films that become the favourite of many.

The plot of the film is seemingly basic; the entire movie is about a single day in detention, centered on the five students attending and the antagonist vice principal (Paul Gleason) who is monitoring it. Yet, in this basic story there is an expanse of complex themes regarding sexism, relationships with parents, pressure, the hierarchy of high school cliques, suicide, and labels. As the characters begin to share their life experiences and reveal the things that landed each of them in detention, the film demonstrates how awful the school system is, with a vice principal that doesn’t care for the students, and students who treat each other cruelly based on social status. It also shows that people are different than you think, that they have unknown sides to them, and that labels aren’t everything. This is beautifully depicted in the narration at both the beginning and end of the movie, in which the students state the labels they’ve been given, and embrace that each one of them is “a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.”

Another component that easily makes The Breakfast Club stand out is the distinctive characters. It was a fantastic idea from writer/director John Hughes to introduce the main characters with a display of each kid-parent dynamic; Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall) is scolded; Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald) is coddled; Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez) is pressured; Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy) is ignored; and John Bender (Judd Nelson) shows up alone, his parents not even bothering to give him a ride. From this strong introduction, the characters continue to develop in unexpected ways, seen as they begin to open up to each other.  Although some of the actors seem too old to be playing teenagers, I wouldn’t dare replace any of them. Each of the actors is perfectly cast and amazing at the delivery of their lines, as well as reacting to scenes going on around them, in a way that separates their individual personalities.

The soundtrack of the film, while simple like the plot, is very fitting. Villainous music is played as vice principal Vernon threatens John Bender, increasing the fear and intensity of the scene, while upbeat music is played during the characters’ dance montage, and sad melancholic music plays as the characters reveal upsetting life experiences. The film ends with “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds, a fitting and touching song for the new and unlikely friend group who may be splitting ways now that detention is over. This film also has a lot of silence, or scenes where there is an abundance of dialogue with no background music, which cleverly depicts the boring emptiness of detention.

Despite what you might expect The Breakfast Club is overall a fascinating, allegorical, and classic film. It is truly amazing the amount of content and theme that can be packed into a movie that is set on one day, in one school, with five characters. I would definitely rank this movie in a list of the top ten movies that everyone should watch in their life. If you’d like to give it a go, which I highly recommend, this movie can be found at Halifax Public Libraries.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Halifax Public Libraries