Starring: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Justin Henry
Director: John Hughes
Running Time: 93 mins
Sixteen Candles is an American film about a high school girl whose sixteenth birthday turns into a disaster after her entire family forgets the occasion, her relatives intrude on her attempted celebrations, and a pushy nerd who won’t leave her alone.
I really enjoyed this film. It’s not a seminal teen movie like The Breakfast Club, but it’s definitely one of the most entertaining Brat Pack films I’ve seen. With two strong central performances, a great soundtrack, and some good laughs throughout, I had a great time with this film, even if it is more light-hearted and simple than the best teen movies of all.
Let’s start with the performances, which I was really impressed by. Anthony Michael Hall is great as the obnoxious, try-hard nerd getting on our main character’s nerves, proving funny enough to not make you want to punch him in the face, and ultimately care about what happens to him as well as the fate of the main character.
However, Molly Ringwald proved a real stand-out here for me. As I said, the film, and consequently her performances, isn’t as dramatic or deep as other films, but what I really loved about Ringwald in Sixteen Candles is that it’s so easy to sympathise with her. Normally, high school films about teens’ social lives can get on your nerves, considering the characters make such a fuss over so little, but Ringwald’s character is a lot more sympathetic and level-headed.
Of course, there’s still time for all the drama about her social life to kick off, but what I really liked about this film was that we get a supportable and likeable central character, helped massively by Ringwald’s excellent charisma to pull off the pouty teenager who’s actually a lot nicer than she lets off.
The comedy in the film is pretty good too. Although the film isn’t always as hilarious as it starts off, there are a good few running jokes throughout, including Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald’s frustrating friendship and Ringwald’s grandparents’ running feud with a high school senior, and they really help to make the film as entertaining as possible.
Like I said, the story isn’t particularly engrossing, and follows most of the tropes of the 80s teen genre, but that lightness makes the film a pleasant and enjoyable watch. Plus, if you’re a fan of 80s music, this is one of the best contemporary soundtracks I’ve heard, with a brilliant collection of hits from the era worked expertly into the film.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sixteen Candles. It’s not a landmark great of the teen movie genre, but it’s a light-hearted, easy-going and consistently enjoyable watch with some great performances at the centre, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.6.