The Breakfast Club
As a product of the 80’s, one of the most recognizable movies of the time was the Breakfast club. With a cast of the hottest, up and coming actors and actresses of that decade, the movie depicts the experiences of true adolescence development. This movie telling a tale of five distinctly different teenagers force to give up a Saturday in detention. What they learn from the next six hours was that despite their separate social affiliations, they are in fact the same. They each had to deal with issues of family and peers, identity and intimacy as they matured into acceptable adults.
Set in a high school library somewhere in Chicago, Illinois, viewers were introduced to five memorable individuals. There was the princess, Claire, played by Molly Ringwald, a rich red head that believed shopping to be more important than going to school thus why she’s in detention in the first place. Then there’s the jock, Andrew played by Emilio Estevez, whose father pushes too hard for perfection. And there’s the Brain, Brian played by Anthony Hall, whose higher expectations and intelligence could not be used to get an “A” in shop class. The weirdest of the crew is the basket case, Allison played by Ally Sheedy, whose there just because she did not have anything else to do. And final there’s the criminal, John played by Judd Nelson, who seems to be in detention ever Saturday. So why show up, you’re a criminal remember.
These five individual had their lives interacted and chanced in the six hours they spent together. So much had changed that by the end of the movie they had became friends. They explained to each other what is was that got them in detention, the friends that have and the parents they can’t stand. By 2 o’clock the bond was forged. And when they opened up to one another tell each how it feels to be who they are, live in their world and the problems that arise from being who they are. Ultimately, the viewers learned how all of them hate who they are. However, do they have a choice in the matter or is it some stereotype they just have to follow.
All five had issues stirring within their families. Whether it was neglect, abuse or domineering parents, they dealt with it in their own way. Some viewers or critics may say they didn’t because at the end of the day nothing had changed. However, it may not have been visible but it was internal. For instance, research suggest that adolescents and parents think well of each other. This is far from assumption. In the movie Andrew was being pressured by his father (Played by Ron Dean) to be the best of the best. That anyone or thing less was weak, loser. And that weakness had no place in our society, that why you treat them wrongly. Andrew, because of his father’s stories and high standards alone with the pressures of being a top athletic, took advantage of a weaker student. The embarrassment the other student felt was subsided by the cheers and applaud Andrew received as a result of his actions. Andrew didn’t hate his father but he hates the fact that his father was pushing him to be so much like him or better.
Research has also suggested that adolescents and parents share the same values. This statement within the movies is true. Brian and his mother knew the importance of education to achieve high life goals. Like every parent, she wanted the best for her child and his intelligence would be his strength and cornerstone. This statement is made true cause Andrew realized that his intelligence can take him and his family to new heights. Brian’s family was not rich. He wares what some would consider “bummie” cloths, and his mother drove an old station wagon. But cause of the high expectation he had for himself and his mother and sister, Brian believed his brain will carry him farther than anything else. The truth was that your brain can and will lead you to excellence but not in everything. Thus, that undesirable feeling when he received an “F” in shop class.
Family has a big influence on the development of adolescents. However, Peer groups seem to have an even bigger say in the matter. During adolescents, teenagers develop certain traits that maybe shared with others. These traits lead individuals to form groups of cliques or crowds. In the movie, each individual was associated to a certain group that society has labeled them to be within.
Crowds are large, vaguely defined groups that are based on reputation. They are noted as being the jocks, popular, brains and/or nerds. Cliques, however, plays a more important role in the development of social skills and intimacy. Clique’s members influence each other’s behavior and values. Adolescents select their friends based on similarities. One of those is social class. Claire, the princess, is part of that high elite class. Her father drives a BMW and Claire herself wears diamond earrings and eats sushi. Because of their cloths, money and taste, Claire and her friends feel that they above everyone else. She says she don’t like the way her friends treat others or that fact that after the bond she has forge with a brain, and basket case, she can not acknowledge them in school. But she has to stay within her comforts, those like her. Cause what would be said, if Claire were even seen with Brian? What would Brian’s friends say of Claire?
With popularity there’s also rejection, and in adolescent development it can lead unpopular teens falling into one of three adolescent categories: aggressive, withdrawn or a combination of the two. John is an aggressive adolescent. He is known as the criminal of the group because that what society has labeled him. But why have we identity him as such? Why is he aggressive? What was noted in the movie was that john home life is not a pleasant one. The physical and emotional abuse he suffered may be the cause of his behavior. Never the less, his home life or his friends may or may not have contributed to his identity. In fact it was never determined if John friends were in fact criminal or are they just tough guys in school.
Withdrawn adolescent, the Gothic group, sometimes tends to wear black. Allison was just that type of person. What the viewer had to figure out from the movie was why was she withdrawn? From the three approaches to the study of identity during adolescences, Allison seemed to lack self-esteem. Allison must have felt she was not attractive enough to be connected to anything. She sat in the back of the library with a hood over her head and hair in her face. What’s funny is that as time progressed she attempted to stand out as something she was not. The attention seeker that she was, she displayed Erikson’s theory of identity crisis. She fabricated an image about herself in order to make herself feel secure and accepted to others.
One thing I found surprising was from lessons; adolescent’s self-esteem is enhanced by parental approval, peer support and success in school. Three of the five had this effect. Andrew because he was a member of the wrestling teams had parental approval from his father and teammates to win. Claire has peer support from the others in her social class, which can lead one to believe if my friends think and say it, it must be true. And Brian had somewhat of a high self-esteem, he knew he was smarter that the rest. And at the end of the movie he displayed that with the essay he wrote for Mr. Vernon.
The group developed an intimacy that I had hope would had carried to Monday. Except we have no way of knowing that. But for those six hours, the group talked, connected and bonded. Their individual conceptions about friendship changed. Claire realized that if her friends would take the time and get to know Allison they would like her. And if Brain friends would see that the pressure they face to make good grades are not so different from athletes when they have a competition to compete in. Claire and Allison intimacy was seen when Claire took Allison and pull make-up on her. The concern of trust and loyalty was not an issue for either. The guys connected by dancing together on the table.
The biggest display of intimacy came when the group were discussing why each other was placed in detention, and the conversations they had told of each other’s friends. The scene was filled with tears and emotions. In my opinion, when someone is comfortable enough to cry in front of strangers, that person is no longer a stranger but a dear, comforting friends. The group had gained news friends, friends that did not replacing previous ones. Their circle of friendship has broadened beyond ages, social class and intelligence.
Within every movie there’re romantic encounters. Confucius says “Opposites attracted,” and from this movie the saying is true. Late in adolescence intimacy with the opposite sex peers develop. Well, the Breakfast Club displayed many intimate moments. Most evident was that between same sex and opposite sex. Claire and Allison experience a moment that lead to the discovery that Allison was an attractive young lady. Cause of the change, Andrew developed an attraction to Allison. The two were complete opposite; one a jock and the other a faceless nobody. Then there was the chemistry between John and Claire. The good girl, bad boy love affair is old but too.
The Breakfast Club has to be one of my all time favorite movies. Not until I started this assignment had I realized the connection between the class and the movie. The writer of this movie must have had the formal knowledge that which I just acquired. The movie hit of true adolescent development even if the actors and actresses looked too old for the part. In the end they went back to their individual lives. It will never be know if Andrew ever stood up to his father or apologized to the other student. We’ll never know if Brian took the shop class over or became successful. None if Allison stayed with her new look or faded back into her shell. I like to know whatever happened to her future relationship with Andrew. When classes resume Monday did Claire say “hello” to Brian in the hallway? Lastly, we never knew if John was really a criminal.
What we learn is that each individual was in fact who he or she was.
Dear. Mr. Vernon,
We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you’re crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out, is that each one of us is a brain, and athlete, and a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Does that answer your question?
The Breakfast Club