Despite being a raunchy and pretty cliché film, the Breakfast Club remains one of my favorite movies of all time. I watched it for the first time when I was sixteen and I honestly just watched it at first for the “aesthetic” of it all; I thought it was “cool” to watch movies that were from another generation, but I didn’t really think about the message of the movie or what makes it so iconic until I had to analyze it for this assignment.
Before my analyzation, I read “I link, therefore I am” and watched Vonnegut’s take on the shape of stories (which I thought was interesting). I had a hard time trying to relate the reading in any way to The Breakfast Club because it’s obviously not told in hyperfiction text, yet it did make me wonder about the possibility of turning it into a hyperfiction text, and I wondered what that would look like. I thought it would be interesting if you could choose one of the characters to play as, and decide how they would behave and make decisions as they sat in detention; how successful would the story have been if it was told in this way?
As for the layout of the story, it was easy to identify where The Breakfast Club falls in Vonnegut’s terms (the first story graph). The kids got into trouble, have a rough time for a bit with principal and each other during detention, but the movie eventually ends on a good note with some typical teenage make out sessions, a wonderful song and a fist in the air (thank you Judd Nelson for that iconic scene). Despite this typical story graph that everyone is sucker for, I think what makes The Breakfast Club such an iconic movie are two main things: the relatability and the dialogue/narration.
In my opinion, every story or movie that is truly amazing has some aspect of human life that we all can relate to, but the way that aspect is portrayed is very important. Even if a story is based on the apocalypse, we may not be able to relate to what they’re going through exactly, but we can imagine it, and still relate to some of the interactions they might have with other character’s (ex. betrayal, death), just in a different worldly context. The actors’ ability to portray those inevitable aspects of life from the screen with their emotions and words really is what brings it all together, and I think the actors in The Breakfast Club do an awesome job of that, especially when depicting highschoolers.
Everyone at some point in their life has experienced the different social groups, high school drama, parent drama, and the movie does an great job at emphasizing at all these relatable problems and all the stereotypes (the rebel, the popular one, the jock, the nerd, the outcast) of the characters. I think what also really draws you in about the relatability of the movie is how the film reveals at the end that they all have a lot of deep problems and not everything is as it seems on the surface, which of course is cliché in a way but it still gets the job done of capturing and holding your attention, which is something that all great stories do.
Another aspect that makes this movie great is the dialogue/narration. The movie starts out with David Bowie lyrics from his song “Changes”, which I think in a way foreshadows a lot of the movie and captures your attention. As for the characters’ dialogue, although very crude at times (something I am not that fond of), was pretty amusing (especially the conversation between the kids and the principal), but what dialogue is really important is when these five completely different kids, open up to each other and talk about deep and meaningful things, such as how their parents treat them, or what they did to get into detention in the first place that reveal their inner struggles (such as Brian’s suicide attempt), and with this indirect characterization, the viewer’s attention is captured and held.
Finally, the overhead narration that is heard at the beginning and the end of the movie is something that immediately drew me in. The voice (Brian’s I believe) is reading off the essay that the kids wrote to the principal, and the narration is filled with powerful words that at the beginning, provide a sense of foreshadowing about what self-revelations may happen during the movie, but then at the end, ties everything that had unfolded during detention, into a beautiful end scene.