Feelgood Friday Film Club: The Breakfast Club
- James Mottram
- 12 June 2020
The latest in our series of feelgood streaming suggestions to help see you through lockdown
A story about five teenagers spending a whole Saturday in detention? That might not sound like a film that'll make anyone feel good. Yet, from the opening credits – cut to Simple Minds' 'Don't You (Forget About Me)', still one of the greatest singles ever recorded for a movie – to the punch-the-air finale, John Hughes' 1985 classic will leave you elated.
True, it doesn't have the larks of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which Hughes gave us a year later. But whether you're a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess or a criminal – to quote one of the writer-director's immortal lines – this is a film everyone can relate to. Why? Because it sums up the minefield of our school days, where peer pressure and popularity mean everything.
One of the signature films of Hollywood's Brat Pack era, The Breakfast Club may turn 35 this year, but there's nothing dated about it. The performances – from Anthony Michael Hall (as Brian Johnson, the nerd), Molly Ringwald (Claire Standish, the prom queen), Judd Nelson (renegade John Bender), Emilio Estevez (wrestling jock Andrew Clark) and Ally Sheedy (goth Allison Reynolds) – feel daisy fresh.
What makes the movie so damn watchable is how you're allowed to spend time with these kids, as they initially combat boredom, then start to outwit Vernon (the masterful Paul Gleason, of Trading Places and Die Hard fame), the assistant principal overseeing their punishment. By the time they're smoking weed in the library, it feels like an exclusive party you've been invited to.
When the heart-to-hearts start getting serious, there's a dance-driven montage to Karla DeVito's 'We Are Not Alone' that will make you want to get off your sofa and shake loose. Filled with some of the finest lines ever written in a teen movie ('Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?'), it's the ultimate in comfort cinema. As Brian would say: Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.
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