The other day I finally got round to watching the 80s classic The Breakfast Club, and as I haven't done a review in a good long while I thought I'd blabber on briefly about it here. It's probably a bit unrealistic to call this a 'review', so instead let's just say here are my thoughts on and immediate reaction to the film.
First of all, I had a lot of expectations for this movie, not least because of the sheer number of gifs and screenshots Tumblr has yielded of it over the years. I knew I was getting myself in for some angsty teenage all-American drama, which is pretty much what it is at the outset: the premise is that a group of five students, who aren't total strangers but all come from different cliques, have to turn up to school on a Saturday morning for detention. They seem to have nothing in common - there's the beautiful Claire Standish (a 'princess'), the state champion wrestler Andrew Clarke (an 'athlete'), the bookish Brian Johnson (a 'brain'), the reclusive outcast Allison Reynolds (a 'basket case') and the rebellious John Bender (a 'criminal'). But as the day goes on they begin to open up to each other, talking and often arguing, eventually discovering more secrets than they ever imagined they could be hiding. But no spoilers: this is a review, not a plot summary.
What I wasn't quite prepared for with this movie was the sheer intensity. There were so many scenes where I was on the edge of my seat or hiding behind my fingers, just from the incredible tension between the characters. I assumed they would all fit neatly into the stereotypes that so neatly sum them up at the beginning of the movie, and to a certain extent they did, but at the same time they seemed so much more real than my first impressions - their reactions to the various situations were so unexpected and genuine, but at the same time totally relatable as a teenager. In my opinion all the actors did an incredible job of capturing the essence of teenagerdom: sometimes they're moody and sullen, sometimes they act irrationally, sometimes they're just bored and sometimes - to use Tumblr lingo - the feels are too much.
Aside from the really well done character exploration and development, maybe I was missing something but I felt like the movie didn't really go anywhere, despite the few marginally out of context scenes of them all running around the school, which provided some much needed physical movement for the visuals - it was all very much about the characters as people and not so much their actions. That's not a criticism, since I very much enjoyed the psychological depth it went into as a consequence.
I was also pleased to discover that the movie deals with a number of social issues, such as stereotyping, class inequality, bullying, social pressures to perform etc etc, basically everything everyone who has ever been a teenager will understand, but dealt with with such sensitivity and realism that it didn't seem stereotypical and forced. It wasn't so much a movie about these issues as a theme, but they were introduced in a very realistic and personal way, namely through the characters' own honest and often painful confessions.
In conclusion, I would definitely recommend The Breakfast Club to anyone who has ever been a teenager or really just wants to watch something with a healthy dose of realism and good acting.