“Screws fall out all the time, the world’s an imperfect place.” – John Bender
Ah the beauty of youth, a period in time where for the first and probably the last time we feel we have enough energy to turn the earth on its axis; yet there’s always a downside to this raw and unbridled desire – parents and authority figures.
Aged sixteen, The Breakfast Club was an experience I remember having over a friend’s house on a rented VHS tape. With the same number of us watching six American teenagers survive a whole Saturday of detention, the ending left me feeling that no system anywhere could label me and put me in a box. That message has more authentic power than perhaps I realized back then, because as I grew into the person I am today, I always rallied against conformity, not for the sake of indifference, but more from a position of freedom of thought, speech and actions.
Fast-forward (excuse the pun) 33 years and that message is as if not more important than ever before. We live in a technological society, an age of data collection and a need to quantify and qualify everyone. I am quietly confident the reasons for this will one day become clear, but whatever the long-term aims might require, our individuality and joy of discovering our differences must be preserved and celebrated. The Breakfast Club reminds us all that the risk taken to speak to another person pays greater dividends than a collective and isolated silence.
This blog needs no character observation or analysis of cinematic approach; instead, the message being delivered is one of imploring the reader, because if ever there was a need to sit down and look back at your youth, then The Breakfast Club is the perfect place from which to start. With so much emotion, honesty, vulnerability and pain contained within one room (ironically the school library), it demonstrates the miracle that any teenager gets through their adolescence unscarred, never mind with academic grades to be proud of.
I love this film for so many reasons, and there isn’t a single player in this intimate theatre that doesn’t affect me emotionally every time I watch it, and it equally demonstrates that John Hughes was simply the epitome of lightening-in-a-bottle thinking. In fact, it is probably reasonable to say that there will not be another writer/director that captured so acutely, the minds and hearts of us all at that delicate age.
Such lamenting leaves me only to summarize that The Breakfast Club is still the reference film for youth both then and now, and will prove just as relevant for generations to come; because you can change the clothes, the sets and the slang, but the emotion and humanness within will always remain unfettered.