Remembering The Breakfast Club
Shermer High School in Shermer, Illinois was the setting for John Hughes‘ classic film, The Breakfast Club came out on February 15, 1985. Back then, kids were just being kids and found themselves in trouble as everyone did back in high school. Lots of people made mistakes that taught them to grow and learn about life. The group, which included the famous Brat Pack actors of Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy, established characters that the audience could relate to and understand. They can see themselves in the characters of John Bender, Claire Standish, Andy Clark, Brian Johnson and Allison Reynolds, respectively. This, alongside the direction of John Hughes, someone who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago after spending his first years in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, understood exactly what the life of a Midwestern teen was all about.
When all of the students end up in an all day detention on a Saturday, where they all wish they were doing something else, it was the beginning of a life changing experience. They all broke different rules, which landed them in detention. Yet, that was what allowed them to connect. Sitting silent in a room and even leaving the room at one point to go get marijuana from one of their lockers is what gives them the chance to break down the traditional social barriers. A marijuana addiction treatment was probably out of the question since they may have found it to be lame. This film reflects the reality of high school life quite well.
Normally during school hours, some of these students would not have been spotted dead next to one another. However, this is the chance for them to see who each other truly is. If two people do not get to know one another, they may never truly understand who the person really is. A person could look completely different on the outside and be someone completely different inside. Someone who shows off and is a sports jock may be yearning for attention or looking to get away from their family because of difficulties at home.
One of the biggest takeaways from the film is that you never quite know someone until you’ve walked in their shoes or gotten to know them. Life as a teenager is not easy and it’s why the themes in this film not only made it one of the biggest films of the 80s but also one that still resonates with audiences of a different generation to this day. It can offer hope to teenagers who were in the same situation as these kids once were.
The proof is in the pudding with this movie. It proves people of different backgrounds and personalities can connect. That’s where the hope of human connection comes in. Take John and Claire, example. Neither one of them like each other. However, they begin to get to know and understand one another better. They even start a relationship despite it possibly being short lived. Sure, the drug use might have contributed to it a little and they may have needed a marijuana addiction treatment but there’s a lot to what this movie is about. At the end of the film, the characters all recognize they may never be friends or anything more after detention.
Even with the same situation for Andy and Allison, they might only go back to the way their lives were. Yet, each and every one of them, including Brian, who did not have a romantic experience, will have learned for the better that they can find common ground with their peers. At the end of the movie, however, you discover who the real leader and face of The Breakfast Club was: Brian himself.
At the film’s conclusion, it is Brian who leads the signing of “The Breakfast Club” letter. Though he was merely one of the characters in the film, it could be argued he remained a single person throughout the film and the “brain” of the group to be the real energy behind everything that was accomplished. You do not get The Breakfast Club without him. It’s part and parcel to what partly drives the film. At the end of it, though, each character really does get their own moment to shine.
John, too, has a memorable moment when he lifts his fist up in the air as if he’s been victorious. The truth is all of these characters in The Breakfast Club were victorious in the struggles of being an adolescent. They turned what could have been a negative experience into a positive one. They connected on a human level with one another. They’re lessons that will serve them for the rest of their life and help them face future challenges that will face them. Each member of the group is stronger for having known each other member. And that’s the point of what good coming of age stories do. This one, however, will always be remembered as one of the most original in the genre.