Why The Breakfast Club Matters (Even If You Hated It)
A lot has been said about the cultural significance of John Hughes’s now-iconic 1985 film, The Breakfast Club, now being re-released in theaters and on Blu-Ray and DVD in honor of its 30th anniversary. If there’s one thing people love, it's nostalgia. And as with any phenomenon, it will have its haters. One thing I’ve heard lately is why a film riddled with stereotypes, predictable truths, and run-of-the-mill adolescent hang-ups is so beloved.
We here at InStyle all have a memory of the film and the character we related to most—even if we didn't enjoy the movie. “When I was a teen, I related to (Ally Sheedy’s) Allison, because I wanted to be like her,” says our executive editor of digital Angela Matusik. “Artsy, moody, misunderstood. But in reality I was probably much more like (Anthony Michael Hall’s) Brian." Adds InStyle’s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson, “Clearly John Bender (Judd Nelson) for his love of sarcasm and layering. See his commentary on wrestling and lobotomies. Plus, he could light a match with his teeth.”
I, like Matusik, probably related most to Sheedy’s basket case, with her fondness for art and all-black ensembles (and, I’m sad to say, propensity for dandruff). She has the best line in the film (“When you grow up, your heart dies,”) though I disliked then, as I still do now, Allison’s makeover scene with Molly Ringwald’s Claire. The stereotype of a woman getting pretty to land a man is one that’s been repeated over and over in movies, particularly those of the teen variety. I know others share my sentiment about this stereotype and others the film projected.
But still. I connected with the film.
Maybe you were the brain who wanted to date the prom queen, or you were the athlete who wanted nothing more than to beat up the criminal. Or maybe you were the brainy basket case who really wanted to be the prom queen so you could date the athlete—in any case, it resonated with you.
And at the end of the day, that was the point of The Breakfast Club—that we all felt connected. “The movie is basically about how they feel so alone and find out in the end that they’re not,” Ringwald said at a recent panel at SXSW.
So, Mr. Vernon: Does that answer your question?