The Breakfast Club

“Even though the John Hughes film The Breakfast Club was made in 1985 it still has relevance for modern for modern Australian audiences” To what extent do you agree? ... and these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through... – David Bowie David Bowie’s words above introduce the John Hughes movie The Breakfast Club; they suggest the central themes explored about teenage issues.

Hughes portrays five different sub cultural school groups: “the geek” – Brian Johnson; “the jock” – Andrew Clark; “the princess” – Claire Standish; “the criminal” – John Bender; and “the sensitive artistic type” – Alison Reynolds. The Breakfast Club deals with many issues which high school students are faced with over their high schooling years, such as peer pressure and parental expectations. Although this film was produced in 1985 it is a film which I feel from my own personal experiences, most teenagers are still able to relate to.

Everyone wants to be like, to fit in and to be part of a group. The five students identified in this film represent the whole student body. These students each belong to different peer groups which reflect on most schools in Australia. All the students in the film believe that they have a bad home life, so when they go to school they are able to belong to something which is stable, that being their peer group. In the movie this was the first way in which the characters tried to interact by sharing their beliefs on their home life. Most schools reveal peer pressure.

From what I have personally experienced this can make students change who they are, so that they are able to fit in with other students. Sometimes these students withdraw themselves, become anti social or feel that they have to be out spoken and make trouble for themselves. All of these characters types are conveyed in the film. In The Breakfast Club John Bender plays the role of the rebel, the one who bullies. Bender having given him this persona is now unable to back down; otherwise he is not living up to his label of the rebel.

Bender has produced this front so that he has something to hide behind; this also makes him feel part of a group. Bender says to Claire It’s good being bad.... The characters of The Breakfast Club, besides Alison Reynolds all show signs that peer pressure is something that they are able to be influenced by. When marijuana is being smoked by Bender, Claire and Brian were the first ones to follow; this was seen to be done as a sign of weakness. This was done so that they were able to be seen as cool and being able to have something in common with Bender.

Parental expectation is another issue which is widely explored in this film. Every parent wants a “wet dream” which was vicious criticism said by Bender to Brian Johnson. Bender believes Brian is the perfect child, which every parent would want. Bender says this as if being a good child who respects their parent’s wishes, and also abiding by the law as a bad thing. This is what Bender would believe as he has to portray himself as having a “bad boy” attitude. Parental expectation is something that Andrew deals with a lot.

The only reason Andrew was in Saturday detention was because he tried to please his father by hitting another boy, he did this to prove to his father that he could be strong, and be what his father wanted of him, a good athlete. This is also the same for Brian Johnson, all his life he has gone along with what his parents have told him to do, and he is able to reveal the stress that his parents pile on him, by talking to his new found friends, the breakfast club.

A school yard can be a cruel environment, however said by Bender I am just trying to help. This is what Bender said to Andrew after bender was giving Claire a hard time. Bender felt that giving Claire a hard time would make her realise, that she is no different from what he is. At the beginning of the movie the characters don’t identify with each other’s personalities. However at the end of the movie they bond with each other and identify that they are all the same even though they are from different peer groups.

They discovered that each one of them is a brain, a basket case, an athlete, a princess and a criminal. This is similar to the journey that I have undergone through my schooling life at Marryatville High School, starting off in year eight being the year of identifying with a peer group. Year nine through to eleven were years when moving out of your peer group was moving out of your comfort zone and in year twelve everyone bonds, everyone talks to each other and everyone realises that they have more in common than they had believed.

This movie is about a journey of self discovery, the characters learn a lot about who they are. Just as us as student have done over my high school life. I believe that this movie is still relevant to modern day students of 2008 and for students in the future, as there are the five different peer groups which most students are able to say I fit in with that peer group, or know of people that belong to the different peer groups.