“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 and 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.
Who would have thought that 32 years after its release the classic The Breakfast Club would still be Hollywood’s best attempt at understanding and then destroying stereotypes of adolescents? John Hughes, the mastermind who wrote and directed this brilliant coming of age, showed us that maybe, just maybe, kids see themselves as the kind of adults that have been projected on them. They spoke of real problems, pressures from parents and friends, problems at home, feeling inadequate. Don’t we face many of the same problems as adults while being teenagers? To grow up means being able to work them out, but real teen angst was swept under the rug until The Breakfast Club.
“When you grow up, your heart dies”. This is one of the most punch-to-the-jaw statements in the film, and it’s a theme that permeates just about all of John Hughes’s films. Fear of becoming an adult, or even being that much closer to being an adult, is the true theme of The Breakfast Club. Finally, at the end of the film, every narrating character signifies that no one wants to be forgotten by the other. Quite touching.
And this is why it’s still relevant today. It’s timeless. Each of the five characters sent to Saturday morning detention is stereotypical: a self-entitled brain, an athlete, a basket case, princess and criminal. These people still exist today. Go into any high school and you’ll see the popular kids, the jocks, the nerds and the weirdos. Each moving in their own social circle. Time didn’t change that.
So here’s too you forty-something people: I call on you to watch this amazing masterpiece again. Not only to briefly enjoy feeling like a teenager, but also to rethink the relationships we have with our own children.