Breakfast Club Film Review Essay

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?”

"The Breakfast Club" begins with an old dramatic standby. You isolate a group of people in a room, you have them talk, and eventually they exchange truths about themselves and come to new understandings. William Saroyan and Eugene O'Neill have been here before, but they used saloons and drunks. "The Breakfast Club" uses a high school library and five teenage kids.

The movie takes place on a Saturday. The five kids have all violated high school rules in one way or another, and they've qualified for a special version of detention: all day long, from 8 to 4, in the school library. They arrive at the school one at a time. There's the arrogant, swaggering tough guy (Judd Nelson). The insecure neurotic (Ally Sheedy) who hides behind her hair and clothes. The jock from the wrestling team (Emilio Estevez). The prom queen (Molly Ringwald). And the class brain (Anthony Michael Hall).


These kids have nothing in common, and they have an aggressive desire not to have anything in common. In ways peculiar to teenagers, who sometimes have a studious disinterest in anything that contradicts their self-image, these kids aren't even curious about each other. Not at first, anyway. But then the day grows longer and the library grows more oppressive, and finally the tough kid can't resist picking on the prom queen, and then there is a series of exchanges.

Nothing that happens in "The Breakfast Club" is all that surprising. The truths that are exchanged are more or less predictable, and the kids have fairly standard hang-ups. It comes as no surprise, for example, to learn that the jock's father is a perfectionist, or that the prom queen's parents give her material rewards but withhold their love. But "The Breakfast Club" doesn't need earthshaking revelations; it's about kids who grow willing to talk to one another, and it has a surprisingly good ear for the way they speak. (Ever notice the way lots of teenage girls, repeating a conversation, say "she goes ... rather than "she says..."?)

The movie was written and directed by John Hughes, who also made last year's "Sixteen Candles." Two of the stars of that movie (Ringwald and Hall) are back again, and there's another similarity: Both movies make an honest attempt to create teenagers who might seem plausible to other teenagers. Most Hollywood teenage movies give us underage nymphos or nostalgia-drenched memories of the 1950s.

The performances are wonderful, but then this is an all-star cast, as younger actors go; in addition to Hall and Ringwald from "Sixteen Candles," there's Sheedy from "War Games" and Estevez from "Repo Man." Judd Nelson is not yet as well known, but his character creates the strong center of the film; his aggression is what breaks the silence and knocks over the walls.

The only weaknesses in Hughes' writing are in the adult characters: The teacher is one-dimensional and one-note, and the janitor is brought onstage with a potted philosophical talk that isn't really necessary. Typically, the kids don't pay much attention.

Note: The "R" rating on this film refers to language; I think a PG-I3 rating would have been more reasonable. The film is certainly appropriate for thoughtful teenagers.

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