Movie Appreciation: The Breakfast Club

Sylvie Goldner, ‘21

A fist is thrown in the air while the lyrics of “Don’t You Forget About Me” are sung in the background. This is of course, The Breakfast Club. The Breakfast Club is not the typical teenage high school drama about high school students who act within the cliques and stereotypes society has constructed. Instead, this film takes these shallow grouping methods and highlights how they are flawed. These stereotypes do not accurately reflect who a person is. In fact, these toxic stereotypes and groupings end up preventing different high schoolers from coming together, unaware that they may be more similar than different.

The detention consisting of five high school students brings Claire Standish, Brian Johnson, Andrew Clark, John Bender, and Allison Reynolds all together with the assistant principal Richard Vernon on one Saturday morning. Each of these teenagers enter the library adorning their stereotypes: Claire is viewed as the princess, Brian the school obsessed nerd, Andrew the jock, John the troubled rebel, and Allison the peculiar, antisocial girl. Because the five high school students are stuck in the school building for the entire day, they begin to socialize, get to know one another, resulting in a day of serious and intense conversations, abusive and demeaning comments from the principal, and a small romance intertwining two students who prior to this day, would have never spoken to one another.

Throughout the day, the uncanny group, naming themselves “The Breakfast Club,” realize that as different as they appear due to society’s perception of them, that they actually have a lot in common, and can connect. Each of the students opens up to the group and shares their darkest secrets and things that are taking place in their life that they never share with anyone. A lot of what is revealed revolves around the relationships they have with their parents. It is important to keep in the mind that the movie was filmed in 1985 and the relationship between children and their parents then was drastically different then what it is like today. The Breakfast Club teenagers describe to one another what their parents do to them spanning from academic/sports pressure, acting as if they do not exist, forcing one to take sides, enduring terrible physical and mental abuse. These five students, initially viewed one another as being only one sided, solely a certain type of person and nothing else. At the end, they learn that even someone with such a ‘perfect life’ like Claire deals with many issues of her own, and that John Bender’s delinquent attitude and actions stem from a dark traumatizing place that frankly scares him, and despite his tough devil-may-care attitude, deep down, he is more vulnerable than anyone else.

The Breakfast Club is a special film that through one day of detention will force you to rethink and reevaluate the names and identities you place upon others -- as most likely, you have it all wrong.