Anthony's Film Review

The Breakfast Club (1985)

John Hughes writes and directs a thoughtful film about flawed characters discovering themselves...

The Breakfast Club is a movie that presents character stereotypes before turning them upside down and inside out. The ability to show character depth, instead of perpetuating familiar one-dimensional character types, is a good sign that the film will be worth sitting through. In addition, this film features a great young cast to play those characters, a good mix of humor and drama, and, most importantly, valuable life lessons. I'll even go as far as to say that The Breakfast Club is an inspiring movie, which you might not realize if you only judge the movie on its surface without seeing it. (Again, the key word is "depth.")

This is one of those movies that is set entirely in one setting. In this case, a high school library on a quiet Saturday, where five students are to serve a day-long detention as principal Richard Vernon, played by Paul Gleason, orders them to write an essay about themselves without talking to each other. As these kids have recently caused trouble, they naturally do not start writing a single word on their papers. Instead, they begin interacting with each other, though somewhat reluctantly because the five kids are so different and have never met each other before.

This is where their outer stereotypes and their inner non-stereotype traits come in. Emilio Estevez plays Andrew Clark, a jock on the school's varsity wrestling team who may actually have a bit of a conscience. Molly Ringwald plays Claire Standish, an innocent-looking girl who ditched class to go shopping. Anthony Michael Hall plays Brian Johnson, an intelligent nerd who has a dark secret of his own. Ally Sheedy plays Allison Reynolds, a self-isolated and mute girl who also hides a painful personal secret. Finally, Judd Nelson plays John Bender, a foul-mouthed poorly-dressed slob who may be a little more intelligent and insightful than he looks. Interestingly, we in the audience see the five students as three-dimensional human beings, unlike Principal Vernon who shows no compassion or curiosity towards the students.

Throughout their detention, the five kids chat and goof around, but with surprisingly good results. As their true selves come out in the open, their prejudices based on stereotypes disappear. They also realize that they have more in common than they realize, especially how they're all in trouble for something and the fact that their parents also have serious issues. We end up sympathizing with each of them because their situations are nothing more than variations of common life issues. The best part is the fact that those social interactions do much more to help them become better people than the principal's traditional methods of discipline.

The Breakfast Club manages to be so wonderful even with a running time of approximately 97 minutes. The five main characters, the five leading actors, and the takeaway lessons all resonate throughout. I would also like to credit writer/director John Hughes and the rest of the supporting cast (besides the principal, there's a janitor and the parents who drops their kids off and pick them up later). Really, if you want a valuable film about teen angst, look no further than The Breakfast Club. This is a period of school detention that can do a lot of good for our hearts and minds.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about The Breakfast Club, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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