The Breakfast Club (USA, 1985)
Directed by John Hughes
Starring Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall
In my now-antiquarian review of Gregory's Girl, I spoke about how coming-of-age films often become indelibly tied up with the people whose careers they helped to launch. Even before thousands of lazy "where are they now?" articles appeared on the internet, it was common for film stars to be born from a single role and then live forever in its shadow - Phil Daniels from Quadrophenia being a good example.
In a way, there are six main characters in The Breakfast Club; our five protagonists, and the oppressive silence of the school itself. Hughes is clever to leave long gaps between sections of dialogue before the final act, making the school feel more like a prison; not only are the children being punished, but their surroundings act as an institutional standard against which they are being silently and implicitly judged. There is a comparison here with Jean-Paul Sartre's seminal play No Exit, which postulated that "hell is other people"; the characters' struggle is not just against each other, but against the absurd and arbitrary standards of the adult world which they are destined to enter whether they like it or not.
For more information on Gregory's Girl, Quadrophenia, Heathers, check out the archives of The Movie Hour from my time on Lionheart Radio. Click here to see the breakdown of episodes or visit www.lionheartradio.com.
NEXT REVIEW: Juno (2007)