Friday, 17 February 2017

The Breakfast Club (1984)

Back in October I was prevailed upon to watch Pitch Perfect.  There's no formal review of that film since it wasn't my DVD, but the short version was that I liked the music and loathed the characters.

This is relevant to today's review because one of the characters in that film is passionate about music in movies, and cites The Breakfast Club - and in particular, Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me" as an example of great music in cinema.  Which reminded me that this film existed, and that I'd quite enjoyed it back when I was a teen.

So I'll kick off by acknowledging that the music in this movie is indeed very good, and that the cast is also excellent.  I'm kinda bummed to learn that John Cusack didn't get the role of rebellious youth Bender - I think he would have nailed it - but I can't really fault the casting of Judd Nelson either.

The film's premise is that a group of five high school students are serving an all day detention on a Saturday.  They're pretty quickly codified into high school cliques: there's the nerd, the jock, the princess, the weirdo and the rebel.  They start the day believing they have nothing in common except their mutual desire to be anywhere else, but of course by the end of the day they're inevitably going to learn an Important Lesson About Themselves And Each Other.

It's a tribute to the script and performances of the film that it manages to achieve this potentially schmaltzy manoeuvre without the saccharine levels rising too high, though I do feel that the kids' transition from confrontation to cooperation is rather abrupt and unconvincing.

Also, be aware that even after the group has become 'friendly', their treatment of the princess character is pretty darn awful.  Though points for a thirty year old film openly acknowledging the ways that society tries to control women's sexuality, even if part of this is done through the bad behaviour of its own characters.

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