This review comes from my Letterboxd profile, where I review all of the movies I see.
This is a movie that I should have watched ages ago. I started watching it in my sociology class on Thursday, after which I bought it on Criterion Blu-ray because I knew it would be a special movie for me. I continued it on Friday and I just finished it now. I'm gonna watch it again with my parents tonight to get a better idea of how the movie feels watching it in one sitting, but for now, I just have to say that this is the kind of movie I especially love: a movie that explores the lives and inner thoughts of a bunch of people just trying to make it out of a certain situation. The Breakfast Club definitely has some 80's sexism thrown in there every now and again and some of the relationship arcs between the characters don't feel completely cohesive, but I really can't say that there's anything big wrong with this movie. It's just fun.
All five of these kids -- Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, and Ally Sheedy -- absolutely deserve a shout-out here because of how great they all were. Each of them had a distinguishable personality that became more multi-layered as the movie went on. You're interested in the dynamics between the characters from the get-go. You want to know why Bender is so cruel, what Allison is thinking in her head, what home lives Claire and Andrew have, and how Brian even got into detention in the first place. The chemistry between all of the kids is great and they're all just so much fun to watch. I particularly love the fact that throughout the movie, the other characters continuously call out just how rude Bender is being towards them. We don't empathize with him at the beginning, but as we see his character develop throughout the course of the film, we begin to empathize and realize the kind of pain he's been going through. It's great just watching these characters and seeing how they all got here to begin with.
John Hughes' writing and direction are phenomenal here. I think this is my first John Hughes movie, and I really want to see more of them in the future. The way he composes shots, the way he just sits on characters for long periods of time and shows them fidgeting, bored out of their minds, waiting to go home, and even though we feel that energy, we're not bored ourselves because the incredible score and soundtrack choices keep the energy of this movie going, it shows that Hughes really cares about making the audience feel the same way these characters do and cares about emulating what it feels like to be the outcast in high school. I personally felt that Hughes captured the spirit of high school very well. These kids all feel like real kids, and I'm gonna be honest, there were times throughout this film where I was kind of terrified at just how similar to Brian I really am. He's very literal, he's grade-obsessed (although, as we find out, his obsession is to a pretty high degree), he's honest all the time, I just saw so much of that in me. I think that's why this movie stands the test of time so well -- it captures the feeling of high school perfectly through the direction, the performances, the writing, and the editing. It's just so great.
I really can't find anything wrong with this movie. Again, yes, there are some arcs that maybe aren't established as well as they could have been and there's definitely some 80's sexism thrown in there, but in all honesty, I think those are more products of the times and even the sexism is appropriately chastised and called out. Fantastic writing, direction, and performances will probably keep this as a very special movie for me for a very long time, and I definitely should have watched this eons ago.
Letter Grade: A+