The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club (1985)


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 has now mellowed, and you are all in a state of intoxication but still sober enough to hold a conversation. As you look around at this surprisingly unrelated group of people, you suddenly feel safe and begin to talk about the things you’ve thought about a million times in your head but never considered saying out loud. That feeling is the quintessential spirit of The Breakfast Club.

John Hughes truly was, and perhaps still is, the godfather of the coming-of-age story. Many critics now regard The Breakfast Club as one of Hughes’ most memorable and recognisable works. However, on its release, it was not revered; instead, it was broadly criticised for “having thought up the characters and simply flung them together.” However, retrospectively, The Breakfast Club found its way to classic status with the help of VHS video rental.


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The plot is even more straightforward than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as five archetypes of adolescence are placed together in Saturday detention. Here their forced confinement leads them to get to know one another. What’s clear from the outset is that the archetypes introduced are not set in stone. Hughes’ characters are constantly changing, shape-shifting before our very eyes. For example, Judd Nelson’s rebellious outlaw John Bender reveals his vulnerable side. At the same time, ‘The Brain’ Brian expresses his desire to let loose, discarding 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. 


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What’s all-too-relatable about The Breakfast Club is the group’s collective realisation and admission that the labels that define them 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 through 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 connect to The Breakfast Club and come away from it almost as though they were the group’s sixth member.

The Breakfast Club inspires an optimistic feeling of rising above your label, driven by the possibility of finding a tribe that not only understands who you are but accepts you precisely because of that. 

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