The brats of the 70’s, Dogme 95,…even the mention of these revolutions must give hardcore cinephiles the goosebumps, I reckon. They saved cinema. Now you may be thinking to yourself (obviously you ain’t but pretend for my sake) when does cinema need saving ? Well, I think it is when every character you see on the screen from the opening to the ending credits is a tried-and-tested cliche. It is when scripts are dumbed down for the audiences. And if you want to test that the veracity of my statement is hors concours, then go watch a movie about teenage. Well,….. just not The Breakfast Club. It’s sheer genius. I know when you watch it, it probably doesn’t come off as one, but it is and here’s why.
This is the premise. Five teenagers, each a stereotype- the prom queen, the sports star, the nerd, the weirdo and the jerk are put together in the school library on a Saturday for detention. And as their conversations progress, the layers start peeling off. The characters basically just sleep, swear, talk about how much their parents suck and sex and occasionally, smoke weed. So as you can see, it is at least brutally realistic.
And that realism is its most paramount factor. Take almost any other teenage movie and you will see how screenplays shamelessly sugarcoat teenage angst till it appears to be banal, and the only factor that remains is the one which the target audience (read teenage couples) go into the cinema halls to see, viz. plot mechanisms related to testosterone and progesterone.
But, in The Breakfast Club, John Hughes treats his characters and their angst with the respect it deserves. They say all great art is about something deeper than it admits. On the surface, The Breakfast Club may look like a simple plot, but at its crux, it is a tale of identity crisis in teenage years and how the stereotypes we assume in that period, meaninglessly keep us captive in a self-constructed prison. Throughout the movie, Hughes pays special attention in not focusing on any character, yet diverting that attention towards their tales by which each characters dons a different stereotype depending on the tale he/she is saying, so as to illustrate the transcendental nature of the roles we consider to permanent.
It also explores what I think is the only beauty in teenage life – how conversations seem to be meaningful and life-changing. Through the course of the movie, the characters mostly yank about balderdash, but towards the end, an eerie silence hangs over the movie, affirming it all did add up to something important, which one of them will take away. And instead of sugarcoating the plot with an uplifting ending, Hughes opts for a bittersweet one, which will be cherished long after the screen fades. (This all takes place during a Saturday detention by the way)
All though I may have destroyed the interest you may have had in watching this movie by making it look like a mind-fuck Kaufman, believe me, it is the most fun you can have watching a movie. The Breakfast Club is a hilarious and poignant tale, the kind which refreshes our memory from time to time on why we actually go to the movies.
RATING :- 9.4 / 10
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