Thursday, 8 February 2007

The Breakfast Club

What an intruiging film.

Me and Chris just watched it. What an amazing film. I saw it before, a couple of years ago, but wasn't paying full attention and so didn't take it all in at the time. Forgive me if this just seems a little babbly, butI don't particulaly know where to start, now i've begun like that. Maybe I should start at the end, because that's the part that's the most vivid in my mind. The ending, as far as I could understand, was in some parts the perfect conclusion to the movie. In other parts, I thought, it wasn't as good. Brian told Claire towards the end: 'You're so conceited', and I felt the same about the conclusion. It was obvious from the beginning that Claire, the prissy, stuck up, popular Cheerleader, was drawn to Bender: the arrogant, rough bully, who just happened to have hidden depths. So when they got together, in a closet, it was kind of.. expected. However, Andrew and Alison? It seemed to me that the whole time the film was exploring our relationships and the benefits that can be gained by not taking everything at face value and getting to know people, inside as well as out. And yet, as the coup de grace, if you will, Claire gives Alison a makeover: from intriguing, elusive goth into pretty, bubbly goddess. Andrew is immediately interested. They kiss, all is right with the world. Brian, the nerd, leaves alone with his disgruntled-looking father. It seemed slightly unusual that the whole movie tries to tell us (and very much succeeds) that looks aren't everything, but the apparent only way for two of the characters to leave the school happy are for one of them to undergo a drastic image change so they suit what's more socially acceptable for the other.

So, I was left with a slight bitter taste in my mouth. That has entirely erased any good feelings I had about it, which is a shame. It's a fantastic movie, and is funny, moving and emotional. I suppose I shouldn't hold the previous paragraph against it because it's not the first time that sort of thing has struck me in a film, and it won't be the last. Perhaps there's something wrong with me when I emerge from almost every film I watch feeling bloated, jaded and jealous when, no matter what has happened previously, a happy resolution is the only concievable outcome, however unrealistic it may appear. Perhaps it's what people want to watch. They want to escape from their own lives, sadly missing the happy ending, and relive someone elses for a while. I'm not sure I can handle that, however, because I want the happy ending, and I'm not sure I can help wanting it.

Personally, I thought Alison was much better looking before her 'transformation'. She was intriguing. She wore dowdy, figure-destroying clothes, but that didn't bother me. Never much has, not sure if it will, once I pack the shallow jokes away that seem to pervade every male. Her impish smile, eyes - hell, her impish face shone through, and there was hidden depths. I wanted to sit down with her, talk through the night, watch the sunset, talk through the next day, let her talk to me: explore each other. However, when Claire got hold of her, all that was lost. She was wearing a flirty white top, she walked like a cheap tease, bit her bottom lip with the best of them. Her hair was distinctly undistinct and the social awkwardness that pervaded her before seemed put-on and unusual. It wasn't attractive anymore: she seemed to be playing an act this time. I couldn't take it seriously. I guess that goes against what I've been writing in that I shouldn't be judging people by their covers, like they were in the film - but if the social awkardness was still present, she sure didn't show it when she got near to Andrew. Any shy flutters of the eyelashes that appeared after her transformation seemed to be for show rather than indicators of anything going on in her brain.

Deep breath.

Not sure if I know what to say now. I prefered Alison before she changed from intriguing and shy to your average brunette bimbo. But that doesn't matter, right? She got the guy, so at least the movie had it's priorities right. I find it odd that the only character who didn't leave attached to someone was Brian, perhaps the catalyst for many of the later changes in the development of the plot and the characters: his revelations about why he was in detention both shocked and loosened people up, made them talk. Made them want to cut loose and start enjoying their confinement. He was the one who shouted at Claire and told her what everyone was thinking; he asked the question about friendship that got everybody talking. In some respects, he was the one who most deserved some sort of resolution from the film. However, nothing came of it. He was too shy to try for anything else; too worried about rejection and failure. Perhaps I just feel strongly about him because I relate. I just think it's another possibly negative image from the film. Bender has obvious appeal as the bad boy. Andrew, the clean-cut, good-looking athlete. Brian: the nerd. Bender asked him in the movie: 'When do you get laid?' And it'd be a good question to answer. But it isn't just about getting laid, having sex, or whatever. I got the impression, especially towards the end, that he just wanted someone to talk to. Not that he was the only one who needed that, of course: the confessions of every other person in there, including the head teacher and the janitor, pay testament to that. But by the end of the film, Brian's the only one who would be willing to talk to the others outside of detention. He's the one who wakes them up to the fact that it's a shitty thing to do, and Alison agrees with him. But pre-transformation, she's too shy. Post, she's too busy with Athlete Andrew. Apart from Brian, everyone is too busy with everyone else to consider anything beyond their seemingly shallow fade back into their old social groups and their old lives.

Brian asked them, specifically, if they'd say hello to him, as a friend, on Monday morning, back at school. He's the only one who would. Andrew's too busy, Claire's too stuck up, Bender's too cool, Alison's too shy. Despite the inkling that they all would like to - maybe - they're too caught up in their own lives and cultivating their own images to care about what's really important post high-school when everyone's drifted away into obscurity. Yes, I felt that the film did try to teach things, preach morals. It was funny, hilariously so at some points, and it did make me think. A lot. but I feel that the conclusion has left a lot to be desired. Sure, some people like the fairytale ending when everyone goes away happy. But not everybody did. Perhaps the most deserving character left with the fewest achievements at the end of their Saturday detention as everyone else filtered back into their lives, too cool to do anything else except pretend that their rendezvous had ever happened. The first hour and a half of The Breakfast Club could be summed up as: don't judge a book by it's cover. The last five minutes, I reckon, could be summarised as the total opposite.

On the plus side, though, it'll snow tonight if the weather's telling the truth.


Zack said...

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. The movie is about these five teenagers from various backgrounds and social statures held in detention on a saturday morning.

The theme of this movie is really great because it proves that we're not the only people in the world who has ever felt alone.

In short: 'Tis a classic.

Zack said...
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