Remembering The Breakfast Club

Halloween was approaching and my daughter was contemplating dressing up as Molly Ringwald’s character in the hit movie The Breakfast Club.  Naturally, I was excited, since it’s an all-time favorite movie of mine.

Immediately I started coaching my daughter on what to wear.  She listened patiently (for a while).  Fans of the movie may nod when I suggested that she attend the gathering sans one earring.  How’s that for dramatic effect?  “Okay, Mom, I know what she looked like," she replied.  "I've seen the movie.  Molly (a/k/a Claire) wears her hair short and I need brown boots to complete the outfit.”

“Yes, I know you do,” I replied.  “Believe me, that movie was – and still is – our icon."  The film spoke to our generation, at a time we young adults were heading into the real world with feigned gusto.  Years later, its message is still relevant.

 It’s a story that make you think long after you leave the theatre.

It was a cold, raw day back in ’85 when my two friends and I decided to play hooky from work.  We had already had a successful weekend.  Being a bit selfish, we wanted to drag it out just a bit more.  After checking the movie listings in the paper, we noticed an ad for The Breakfast Club.  The movie starred some members of the Brat Pack, so it didn’t take much to sway us.  We bundled up against the icy wind and headed over to the theatres at Evergreen Plaza – our local mall.

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Since the movie was directed by John Hughes, we were looking forward to enjoying a light-hearted comedy. But it was different from that. Sure, there were some very clever comedic spots here and there. But the storyline wasn’t aimed at drawing constant laughter from the audience. Instead, it pulled one in with its drama and bona fide stories of real individuals.

 

"Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place." -- Bender, The Breakfast Club

The movie made us stop and think. We were no longer at the characters’ high-school age, but we were still young adults, eager but also scared to make grown-up decisions. The film showcased familial relationships, trying to adapt to socially acceptable roles, and learning that it’s okay to question outdated climates in favor of finding your own, unique life.

We’re all pretty bizarre; some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all." -- Andrew, The Breakfast Club

Each character had learned to rely on themselves and realized everyone has to find their own way.  They recognized they shared common struggles, as they set off at the end of the day with new determination.  We the audience felt it too.  When the prim and proper Claire quietly placed her single diamond earning in Bender’s gloved hand, we rooted for her rebellion.  And we cheered for the misfit, John Bender, as he fist pumped the air in the final scene.

The movie closed with a bold soundtrack.  I still turn up the volume when Simple Minds comes on the radio, with its hit Don’t You (Forget About Me).  Iconic and fitting.

No worries.  I won’t forget.  That movie is forever.

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