Starring: Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson
Director: John Hughes
Running Time: 97 mins
The Breakfast Club is an American film about a group of five very different high school kids who get stuck in detention, and end up learning so much about each other while talking, they realise that they’re not so different after all.
There’s a good reason why this film is lauded as one of the true greats of the high school genre. It captures the fun-loving rebelliousness of teenagers through the ages, but it’s also an incredibly incisive and intelligent take on the world if high school, done in a way that we’ve very rarely seen before or since.
But before I get into that, I want to start with the first half of this movie. Bringing together a representative from each walk of high school life is always bound to bring conflict, and The Breakfast Club delivers that spectacularly. Whilst still looking at all the problems of teens’ social hierarchy, the lively comedic atmosphere of the film’s opening act works wonderfully.
Set entirely in the detention room, the constant sparring and bickering between the students, as well as their collective mocking of the supervising teacher, makes for some great laughs and fun throughout.
But what’s even more impressive than the film’s excellent humour is how it so effectively develops its main characters. With such a wide range of personalities, from a jock to a nerd, a princess to a criminal, you would think that the film would struggle to balance itself out effectively, but it does that in some style.
Although certainly focusing more on certain characters earlier on, The Breakfast Club is an absolute master at giving each of its principal characters a sense of genuine importance. On the one hand, that’s good simply for the structure of the story, but it’s also hugely important as the film begins to drastically change its atmosphere later on.
Looking back, it is staggering to see how much this film changes from a free-thinking high school comedy to a dark and hard-hitting social commentary. The final act of this film is no less than legendary, as it brings to light so many truths about the world if teenagers that we so rarely see.
More so than simply dismissing popularity as trivial, The Breakfast Club takes a profound look info the best, and mostly the worst, parts about each the lives of each character. However, contrary to the film’s opening, it demonstrates hoe misleading labels and stereotypes can be, something that’s not only uniquely fascinating to see, but because of the brilliant character development over the course of the film, it’s amazingly powerful too.
Overall, it’s clear that The Breakfast Club deserves its legendary status as one of the best teen films of all. It’s not only an enjoyable and funny watch, but it balances that with incredible emotional power and drama, as well as an exceptionally intelligent on the social world of modern high schools.