Rewind: The Breakfast Club


Daniel Cardenas, reporter

With Netflix’s monthly haul of new film releases and fresh seasons of beloved TV series, September 2018 brought back what is arguably the epitome of teen films: The Breakfast Club. Director John Hughes, was no stranger to the genre with his work in Sixteen Candles (1984), Weird Science (1985), and later Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). His knack for communicating the feelings of teenagers along with the exceptional casting earned him the reputation his name carries.

The film is set 1984, following five high school students spend a saturday in detention with their hardass assistant principal Vernon, played by Paul Gleason. These kids, each coming from heir own clique come in the form of your state champion athlete Andrew Clark, the geek Brian Johnson, the outcast Allison Reynolds, the delinquent John bender, and the pampered Claire Standish. While trapped in a single room for much of the film, the teens learn they’re more alike than they first thought, and the cliche is actually enjoyable.

If The Breakfast Club were to take place in today’s climate with the #MeToo movement in Hollywood, it’s not hard to see how different the film would have been received. For instance the infamous scene where the bad boy John Bender sneaks back into the library and hides under the preppy Claire’s table. He is seen taking the opportunity to snoop under her skirt, and with the camera cutting to Claire’s reaction, it’s implied that Bender may have gone way further. Molly Ringwald, the actress for Claire and a staple of the teen film genre, has said she lobbied director John Hughes to cut a scene in which the assistant principal Vernon is seen watching a female gym teacher swim in the school’s pool, which Ringwald felt would be “better for the film”.

Despite the clear sexual assault and being armored with praise during the boom of a genre, the explored theme of identity is one that would still resonate with today’s audience. Teens today could still relate to the teens in the film, struggling with parent expectations and social status, something all too real for any generation’s youth, and this relatability is what makes The Breakfast Club so memorable.