The Breakfast Club (1985)

Not all of the film has aged well, but the fundamental premise of unravelling stereotypes while exploring the fundamental relativity and shared pain of the teen experience still works well. The development of empathy between the five students is marred by putting them back into boxes at the end, with the romantic match-ups, and an earlier scene where the rogue character looks under the princess character’s skirt and does something unseen that distresses her, well it rankles, and colours the rest of the film poorly. Their eventual matchup feels depressing in light of the grief he gave her earlier – why did she bear the brunt of his breaking-down, rather than the male jock character, part of the same fundamental social situation he took issue with? Distressing her repetitively then doling out some kindness an being so rewarded for it feels realistic, but not in the way I think the film wanted its characters to feel.

The dialogue is strong enough that the film positively zips along, its essential one-set setup not an impediment at all, with the material (and the cast’s ability to perform it) strong enough to make everything glide by. There are some odd lapses in style, like the performed dance sequence, but the sense of verisimilitude is generally pleasingly strong. It’s clear why the film reverberated through culture, and the fundamental concept is as strong as they come in this genre. Three cereal sandwiches, and a loose screw.

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