Gone To The Movies // The Breakfast Club

20 June 2016

Gone To The Movies is a joint feature Kaja and I are doing where we watch romance films and then write a review. It’ll be one film a month to happen in the middle of the month (I think we agreed the third Monday of each month… but don’t take my word for it) and is just a fun feature which gives me an excuse to watch romance films.

It’s been a while since Kaja and I have done one of these posts so I’m happy to be back with a favourite of mine, The Breakfast Club. In case you’ve been living under a rock and have never heard of the film I’ve put the short description below because some folks weren’t alive in the 80s when this film was released. I mean, I wasn’t either, but I love films and this one is a classic for me.
Five high school students from different walks of life endure a Saturday detention under a power-hungry principal (Paul Gleason). The disparate group includes rebel John (Judd Nelson), princess Claire (Molly Ringwald), outcast Allison (Ally Sheedy), brainy Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) and Andrew (Emilio Estevez), the jock. Each has a chance to tell his or her story, making the others see them a little differently -- and when the day ends, they question whether school will ever be the same.
(From Google)
As you can see, it’s the stereotypical group of misfits get thrown together and end up discovering there is more to one another than first appears. This film is all about overcoming labels and seeing the people underneath. I can’t really review it as I adored it and have ever since I first watched the film years ago. Instead, I’m going to give you some quotes, tell you about the main theme and list a few books I’ve discovered after watching this film. Also, I’m going to put the classic Simple Minds song at the beginning here, as it is really the only appropriate music to be listening to here.
Okay, now we are in the right mind frame for this films let’s take a think about it. I know when I first watched this film when I was 14 or 15 I found myself identifying with Bender and Allison, the rebel and the outcast as that was who I saw myself as (I was an angsty teenager at times who thought no one could possibly understand me).  I wanted to be a rebel and be different.

Watching it back now I know I don’t fit under anyone label. I am a rebel, I will talk back and open my mouth when I probably shouldn’t. I am an outcast in that I don’t always like the same things as everyone else, I am the girl who would rather sit somewhere with a good book than go to a crowded bar and spend time with a large group of people. I am a bit of a princess, I like to shop and like clothes. I’m a brain, I like to learn new things, I like learning. The only thing I’m not is a jock because I am lazy and I know it. So it’s apparent that one simple label is not enough to appropriately define people and that is the grand realisation of the film:
Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete…and a basket case… a princess… and a criminal…. Does that answer your question?Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.

One thing which did annoy me in the film is the makeover that Allison is given and then her apparent connection with Andrew, the jock. They interacted before the makeover and got along but it’s as if he only truly notices her after the makeover. That annoyed me. Makeovers are fun, but to only be recognised after that as if her previous (admittedly not to my tastes) fashion tastes were not good enough. That was annoying.

You ought to spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people.

I did love seeing these characters slowly get to know one another and realise they have far more in common than appearances would suggest. They don’t enjoy everything about school. They feel pressure from their parents. They feel pressure about sex. They all have similar issues and they bond over it and have fun. I love it when they were all sat together talking towards the end of the film and they were all speaking honestly about why there were there. That was when the walls finally began to come down. They began speaking honestly and some of them were honest that the pressures of high school meant they were scared to speak to one another on Monday as social boundaries could not possibly be crossed.

We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.

I really love this film. The fact that these people connected is just amazing. My only complaint every time I watch the film is I don’t get to see if they actually do speak to one another on Monday. Do they overcome it all? These are the things I want to see. Watching a film that takes place over one day is fun, but don’t you just want it to carry on so you can see what’s next?
From watching the film I always think about how we always try and categorise everything, even people. We give labels to things as we like to categorise and fit things into boxes, but that isn’t how life works. As such, I would like to highlight a few books which fit perfectly for the theme of this film (for me). I’ve not read all of them, but they definitely seem fitting.

Okay, so there are four books here which I think are pretty fitting if you’re looking for something to fit your Breakfast Club cravings. Three I have read, The Summer I Became a Nerd and The Duff and they are about labels, the categories we put ourselves in, and overcoming the usual high school boundaries (I think… it’s been a while since I’ve read them both). Top Ten Clues Your Clueless isn't so much the labels we give ourselves but how other people categorise people without knowing and is about a group of people forced together and the friendships which are formed from that. As for This Is Not A Test is all about teens in some kind of zombie apocalypse locking themselves up in a school together… that’s pretty similar, right?

Have you seen The Breakfast Club? Please tell me you loved it. And Did you used to define yourself by these silly labels as I know I did? Have you any good recommendations for a Breakfast Club inspired read?
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