The Breakfast Club by John Hudges

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The Breakfast Club, directed by John Hughes, is not only a classic but has so many deeper meanings within the film. Five high school students, John Bender, Andrew Clark, Claire Standish, Allison Reynolds, and Brian Johnson, spend a Saturday detention together amongst the care of their teacher, Mr. Vernon. The five students are to represent the vastly different stereotypes of high school kids, John Bender, a criminal; Andrew Clark, an athlete; Claire Standish, a prissy-popular-pink princess; Allison Reynolds, a basketcase; and Brian Johnson, a know-it-all brainiac. Deeper in the plot, the five kids, although vastly different at first glance, bond together and find out they may not all be as different as they intentionally thought.

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John Bender is the scummy-criminal stereotype, the burnout. His bad-boy personality may not have been as asshole-ish as it is if not for the abuse in his home life. It’s a known fact that all people, in childhood, develop alike to their parents, although any dismay. Bender’s parents are abusive, physically and mentally, with no holdback or little-to-none care otherwise. Bender clearly shows signs of personal guarding, sarcastic defense with nothing to be afraid of losing. It’s common knowledge that the way someone is brought up affects who they are as a person and their familiarity with a home, whether positive or negative. His parents aren’t seen during the film, but only talked about and represented through burn marks and bruises on Bender himself. With his upbringing, Bender is very closed-off and untrustworthy to anyone but himself, for that’s all he’s ever had; himself. Growing up and being abused and hurt by the people who are meant to bring you into the world and show you how it works, instead he was beaten down and given nothing but dirt and pain. A roof over someone’s head may not always be the safest place for them, for Bender’s biggest demons are the ones who give him the roof he has.

The head-clash of Bender and Claire Standish, the pretty pink-prissy princess is an important message within the film. At first, Claire is seen as the privileged goody-goody who has everything in the palm of her hand. Later in the film, Claire opens up with the rest of how she’s treated poorly by her parents as well. She elaborates on the game her parents like to play; also the reason for her Saturday detention. Her mother will tell her no on one thing, but her father will tell her to blow her mom off and go against her mother’s instructions, and vice versa, which in the end hurts Claire the most above all. Although the most common stereotype of teenagers is that their parents don’t understand, which is obviously far from true; for every adult was a teenager at once. Although our surroundings and tools change with generations, the situations stay fairly similar. Therefore, it’s not that parents don’t understand their children, it’s that they choose not to, whether known or in a subconscious manner. Claire is seen as the highest class of high school students, yet feels some of the same pains as Bender, who represents the lowest class. The similarities in the personalities of the kids come together over the differences they may feel against one another, which is the most important lesson within the film.

Andrew Clark, the athlete, who is under the extreme pressure of his father mainly, and Allison Reynolds, the basketcase, who only wears dark colors and is too inimitably weird for anyone to befriend, are complete opposite personality types. At the beginning of the movie, their personalities barely, if ever, collide at all. Clark’s parents are his biggest demons, much like Bender’s. His old man is very similar to Bender’s and has the same aggressive, tough-guy personas. Clark feels more of a pressure to impress and prove himself to his father, therefore his reason for detention in the first place. In Allison’s case, her parents barely acknowledge her existence. Her dark, loner persona originates from the neglect of her parents and you can tell by the way she dresses and the raggy-ness of her belongings, although her parents dropped her off at school in a sleek-fancy Caddy. Towards the end of the film, you see all the students put away their differences and see the beauty in each’s origination. Claire bonds with Allison, by stripping her of her dark layers and show her the brightness of her pure beauty, while Bender, Clark, and Johnson bond as well. Before the ending of the film, Allison reveals her new look and bonds with Andrew, the complete opposite persona from hers, in a romantic sense, which is a big part of the film’s message. Not only do Clark and Reynolds bond romantically, but so do Bender and Standish, the other pair of polar opposite personas.

The message of the film, The Breakfast Club, is an important one that all ages, in general, should be aware of. Although people are different at first glance, we are all similar in some ways. Along with the message that there will always be things that you don’t know about what someone’s going through, and in a way, we’re all dealing with one thing or another, whether vastly different or not. The first relation that really pulls the group together is their home life situations, getting the realization of the similarities within all of their lives. Our parents are the first people we truly have a connection with within each person’s life, whether in a negative or positive sense. The impact this one Saturday detention had on the five of the students would stick with each of them for their lives; whether or not they stayed friends throughout their high school time is beside the point. The biggest point to the film is that they all had the ability to grasp the sense of togetherness, each connected and knowing the ability to not feel completely alone.

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