The Breakfast Club is now available to rent, stream or buy.
You’re at a party, and it’s beginning to die down. Without realising it, there’s only a handful of you left. The music is much more mellow now; you’re all intoxicated, but you’re just about aware enough to hold a conversation. You look around, and you see a surprisingly unrelated group of people, and as though unprompted, you all begin to talk about the things you’ve thought about a million times in your head but never considered saying aloud. That feeling is the quintessential spirit of The Breakfast Club.
John Hughes truly was, and perhaps still is, the GOAT of coming-of-age stories. Many critics regard The Breakfast Club as one of Hughes’ most memorable and recognisable works – however, at the time, it was not revered for its intelligent script backbone. At the time, it was criticised for “having thought up the characters and simply flung them together, [Hughes] should have left well enough alone.” Retrospectively, The Breakfast Club found its way into the hallmark of the ‘Classic’ label.
The plot is even simpler than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Five archetypes of adolescence are placed together in Saturday detention, and their forced confinement leads them to get to know one another. What’s clear is that the archetypes they’re introduced as are not set in stone – Hughes’ characters are constantly turning and changing, shape-shifting before your very eyes: Judd Nelson’s rebellious outlaw John Bender reveals a vulnerable side, while ‘The Brain’ Brian expresses his desire to simply let loose for once against the crippling weight of living up to his perceived intelligence. When you’re in secondary school, it’s incredibly easy to define those you encounter by the one or two traits you most identify them with – the ‘Populars’, the ‘Nerds’, the ‘Jocks’, the ‘Weirdos’; this social segregation is frighteningly natural within the school system, and Hughes makes a clear attempt to demonstrate the ridiculousness of it all.
What’s all too relatable about The Breakfast Club is the group’s collective realisation and admission that the labels they’re defined by are shackles, keeping them from realising their true selves. It’s one of the first times any of them feel genuinely understood, and it’s by each other. No matter who you are, every teenager can relate to the isolating feeling of being misunderstood and misrepresented – be it by teachers, friends, or even your own parents. That’s why so many are able to connect to The Breakfast Club and come away from it almost as though they were the sixth member of the group.
The Breakfast Club inspires an optimistic feeling of rising above the labels you have been given and finding a tribe that understands who you truly are and accepts you precisely because of that.