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breakfast_clubTHE BREAKFAST CLUB 

Looking back after 30 years.

It’s weird to think that it’s been 30 since John Hughes reinvented the teen drama with THE BREAKFAST CLUB – his endlessly charming and profound 1985 ode to teens that would come to change the way we perceived adolescence in cinema. Though many of us – myself included, sadly – weren’t old enough (or alive enough) to see it in theatres and can’t possibly have the same perspective it gave to the audience it eventually defined in the 80s, Hughes’ thoughtful, perceptive recognition and appreciation of adolescent nuances is undoubtedly still being felt in 2015. There’s a reason THE BREAKFAST CLUB has stood the test of time and remained a classic to this very day, and that’s because despite being heavily invested in the specificity of the 80’s (and subverting recognizably 80’s tropes), Hughes uncovered universal truths about the neglected teenage experience – that weird, transitional phase between the safety of childhood and the agency of adulthood that defines a lot of who you choose to become – but the fact of the matter is those truths don’t apply to any one single generation.

Though the film might not feel as significant or revolutionary as it did for so many people in the 80’s, its imperative to realize that until John Hughes there just weren’t a lot of people making films that took teenage struggles and emotions seriously; or using adolescence as a way to tap into genuinely important themes – mortality, responsibility, humanity. It was simply unimaginable. And that’s why it spoke to so many people at the time. There was a whole generation of young people with voices to share and stories to tell and Hughes gave them the cinematic vocabulary to do it. He paved the way. That’s why you can hardly make it through a movie about teenagers today without some kind of reference to THE BREAKFAST CLUB. That’s the kind of influence it still has.

The Breakfast Club

Unfortunately that means we also have it to blame for the YA dystopia genre that assaults us a few times a year, sometimes literally equating systematic oppression with controlling parents, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because THE BREAKFAST CLUB is so much more than a reference or an influence. It’s a masterpiece of sincere, truthful filmmaking that despite the 30-year shift in politics, sexual and otherwise, still finds so many ways to be relevant today. Yeah, the physical make-up of the stereotypes might be dated and the people, music, clothing etc that is culturally perceived as cool will always be changing, but that neglect, those over-simplifications or “convenient definitions” of those still figuring out their place in the world? Those issues remain the same. Human beings are brimming with complexities and sometimes teenagers and adults need that reminder that our issues are the same, that we’re far more than what we might look like or present ourselves as, and with the exception of privilege – a topic the lack of racial diversity never really allowed the film to address – all of these truths still apply to anyone who has ever been or felt like a teenager before.

They’re timeless – as is THE BREAKFAST CLUB.

A newly restored version of THE BREAKFAST CLUB is playing in select cities now. Please visit for more details.

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