The Breakfast Club is a movie made in the 80’s about 5 very different teenagers who are forced to spend the day in detention. At first, they appear to be judgmental of the others but by the end they learn to respect one another because they aren’t so different after all. This movie is still very applicable and popular. The movie is so well received because of the characters, the message and cinematography.
The film is an exaggeration of real life. In real life, high schools are divided into groups of people based on their appearance, interests and how they were brought up. The reason for this is people stick with others that are similar to them. In the film, each major “group” was represented by a student. There was the princess, the jock, the brain, the rebel, and the outcast.
The main message in the movie is that despite all our outer differences, we are all going through the same type of problems. Even more, the theme is that we have to accept the differences because inside we are all alike.
The theme is revealed by depicting the fears, hopes and goals each character has. Andrew Clark is the popular jock who is always trying to please other people. He isn’t happy with the type of person he is because he is the person everyone wants him to be. This creates a lot of internal anger which emerges often throughout the movie. He is scared to disappoint his father, coach and friends so he bases his goals on what they expect from him. Brian Johnson is very bright but has no confidence. He is unable to accept failure and always goes by the rules.
He is terrified that one little slip will cause him to be unable to fulfil his dream of going to university and being successful. John Bender has many issues probably because of his family. He deals with them through sarcasm and teasing others. Allison Reynolds loves attention and will do anything to get it. She lies, does odd things and leaves the audience wondering who she really is. Claire Standish is a popular princess who seems to lead a perfect life but she actually hates who she is and how she does everything her friends do.
Although each character has their own personality and problems they also have a similar problems. They all have bad family lives and aren’t happy with themselves. They are mentally abused by their parents opinions of who they should be. Also, they do everything to either fit in or prove they’re unique. None of them are very self-confident or completely satisfied with who they are.
Acceptance in our society is an awful problem; people don’t approve of others who are different. By accepting this movie and what it is trying to teach us we can better our society. If everyone is friendly towards each other and realize we are all similar we can meet people who can help improve ourselves. At the end of the film, when all the characters realized that, they start to form friendships and work together. They were able to discuss their problems out loud. This taught them that it is best to recognize people for who they are because you are just like them inside.
The movie plot was very interesting but even more the cinematography and acting made the movie the success it is today. Each actor played their role very well. The interesting thing is the contrast the director used for every individual. From the shoes of each character to the way they eat lunch, every aspect of their different personalities were carefully revealed. Each scene was conscientiously constructed exposing the feelings of the individual characters. When the Breakfast Club is trying to escape Mr. Vernon in the halls they are trapped by a locked gate and from the angle of the camera it appears like they are in a jail.
Another clever camera trick used to show the emotions of a character is when Andrew is explaining why he is in detention. A “traveling camera” effect is used and when he gets overemotional the camera becomes out of focus. The music adds to the atmosphere as well. There are many good uses of silence. When Binder is kicked out of the library, no one says anything showing they are starting to accept one another. Additionally, when they are sneaking out the music is quiet and makes the audience feel the excitement and nervousness the characters feel. These are just a few examples of the many tricks the director used to emphasize a certain aspect he felt was important.
This movie is popular with all generation because it has a universal theme that everyone has experienced at some point. It is not an everyday “teen movie” but a cleverly put together dramatic comedy. The message is best put in the words of Brian: “You see us as you want to see us…in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at seven o’clock this morning. We were brainwashed. 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?”