The Breakfast Club is a 1985 film about five high school students from completely different backgrounds, who meet in a Saturday detention. John Hughes impacted a whole generation of teenagers through his unique filming style to highlight certain issues. Hughes uses themes like stereotypes, identity and relationships to show his target audience that they are not alone in their trials and tribulations, and to show it’s something every teen must endure to enter into the ‘real world’ and find themselves in an adult society.
The Breakfast Club uses the stereotypical fictional characters to highlight that it doesn’t matter if one believes themselves to be upper or lower class, popular or unpopular; every teen experiences the difficulty of growing up, finding themselves, relationships and pressures. John Hughes’ auteur style captures the audience through the use of music, setting and technical convections.
The library is the main setting in The Breakfast Club. In the library everybody comes together on a Saturday morning to attend detention for their mistakes. It is in this setting where all of them become friends and open up to each other and the breakdown of stereotypes occur. Even though they have completely different personalities and different traits they end up liking each other. Mainly because they didn’t know how much they had in common but after smoking some marijuana in the library they start finding out more about each other and how all of them face similar problems in their lives. Each of the main characters in the film hold a different high school stereotype.
Claire is the stereotypical popular girl. She is rich, into fashion and is very spoiled. Her diamond earrings and her obsession of clothing shows the audience her higher social standing, and how she wants to be seen by others. Once they get to know each other, they come to realise that they are not all as different as they thought. They are all struggling with the same issues and try their best to appear a certain way to the rest of their classmates. Family problems and school pressures are two examples of things of what every teen experiences in their life. Having a certain image is so crucial to them.
They feel the pressure to keep up their images because they are afraid of rejection, whether it’s by their peers, friends, or parents and society. The characters’ stereotypes are conveyed by their actions, attitudes, and by the clothes they wear.The Library is an important setting because it is in the library where these five people begin their communication. And by doing this they became more aware of each other and the type of person each of them are. This is the reason why this is the main setting is because it is the time where they spend most of their time and where the breakdown of stereotypes, relationships and realisation of the same pressure and experiences occur.
John Hughes uses ‘current’ popular music of the time to engage, be relevant and highlight issues to the teenage audience. Hughes’ use of music conveys the themes of coming of age and finding your own identity. The Breakfast Club theme song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds is use in the film to represent the fear of teens being over looked by society. Some important song lyrics are “Don’t you forget about me” and “Will you recognise me? Call my name or walk on by.”
These lyrics question the relationship formed by each character after dentation, because will everyone forget about each other the coming week. Is everyone going their own way once detention is over, not knowing what the future holds. Will their new friendship be broken by the social groups once they return back to school. The song is also addressed to the parents, saying can you spare a thought and accept these misfits.
In The Breakfast club, the main characters have to grow up while dealing with a world of clueless adults who don’t understand anything and are frequently hostile about their children. The teenage target audience get some closure from the theme song as it allows the sense of finding yourself and growing up being an experience that teen goes through. The use of music from John Hughes engages the audience in the issues and themes of coming of age and identity.
In the movie, camera angles and shots play a big role in helping the audience understand more about the characters. Camera angles and shots are technical codes used to show the way reality is. In the library, the shots are angled more downward, looking down at the students, especially when the principal is around to show his superiority and authority. When they’re all together, they are each pointed at equally to show that they are all the same despite their social standings.
The equally angled shots of everyone ties into the misrepresentation stereotypes give people when in reality all of the characters are equal. The angle helps the audience understand that they cannot put labels on their social standings and they are all on the same level as each other. Technical codes used by John Hughes enable the audience to engage in the themes of relationships and stereotypes.
The film wants to highlight that people from different social groups, family situations, financial statuses are all human beings that can bond and form friendships. Hughes has portrayed this by using setting, music and technical codes. The Breakfast Club is one of the most iconic movies still from the 80s because of its impact on the teenage audience which has been relatable to all teenage all different generations for the past 30 years.
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