The Breakfast Club was a great movie from the 80’s loaded with themes that are still relevant today. This iconic John Hughes movie is about five high school students who were sent to all-day detention. If you saw the movie you might recall soon after the students arrive in detention the assistant principal instructs them not to talk, change seats, or sleep until detention is over at the end of the day. They were also assigned a thousand word essay in which each student was to describe “who you think you are.” They are then left alone and movie magic ensues.
This movie has stood the test of time by touching on several universal themes. Even 30+ years later, people of all ages can relate to what these kids are going through. Here are a few of the more memorable themes that play out throughout the afternoon these students are together.
Iconic characters Allison (the basket case), John (the troublemaker), Claire (the princess), Brian (the nerd) and Andrew (the athlete) spend the length of the film both distinguishing their differences while learning how much they have in common despite how they have been stereotyped by their peers. By diving into each of these characters in more depth we find out why they are the way they are and how truly alike they actually are. Perceptions are hard to change, and people are so quick to judge or stereotype each other. Ever notice how easy it is to quickly judge someone just on their outer appearance? This movie shows us that we might want to think twice before we judge a book by its cover. There is always more to someone’s story than we realize.
Coming of Age
What does the phrase “coming of age” really mean? According to The Breakfast Club, it means growing up. This was especially hard for this group of teens because they realized that they needed to change their perceptions. Not only were these teens forced to understand their struggles but also how they were perceived by others. Detention forced these teens not only to look at changing their perceptions about each other, but it also taught them to become more accepting of their own differences as well. This was especially hard when the assistant principal, Richard Vernon, who should have been an adult role model, was unwilling to change his perception because he viewed the teens through his biased lens. The coming of age theme is especially relevant and shows us that sometimes you must be the bigger person and give others the benefit of the doubt even when it’s hard for them to see a situation any differently. Bottom line, growing up is not easy and is a journey.
The Breakfast Club shows us how we can all be easily influenced by family issues and pressures. John’s parents don’t care about him, Claire’s parents have relationship problems and use her to get back at each other, Andrew’s dad pressures him to be rebellious, Brian’s parents pressures him to do well academically, and Allison’s parents ignore her. Through these examples, we learn that people of all walks of life face family pressures and difficulties.
By the end of the movie, these students learned throughout their day that they have to see past their own flaws as well as those of other students, adults, and family members. This experience forced these students to set aside their differences, find common ground, and discover that they were stronger if they work together. Besides being hilarious, touching, and thought provoking, there are a lot of life lessons that can be learned from this movie. The Breakfast Club reminds us that some things in life don’t really change all that much.