In the 1980’s when The Breakfast Club first came out, it spoke to a generation. It depicted five students who get to know each other beyond all the stereotypes that their high school had created for them.
At the beginning of the movie the students are classified into very narrow types. Molly Ringwald plays the prom queen, Emilio Estevez is the jock, Anthony Michael Hall is the geek, Ally Sheedy plays the crazy girl, and Judd Nelson plays the outcast, soon-to-be criminal. No one, not even the adults in the movie, view the students in any way other than these roles.
By the end of their time in detention, the five high schoolers learn the true stories behind their classmates facades. They learn that each of them is carrying more than the worry of losing a wrestling match or becoming prom queen. They learn that the stereotypes their peers have created don’t explain the whole story. Through a lot of anger and emotional realizations, the gang learns that each of them is dealing with issues that go way beyond the exterior.
This movie got me wondering; is this movie applicable to the lives of high schoolers in the 21t century? Are students nowadays just a couple of honest conversations away from blowing up and breaking out into tears?
I’d venture to say, no. Today’s society is much more accepting of the odd man out. As depicted in many other movies and television popular today, different and diverse is fine and sometimes even better. High School Musical encouraged students to break out of their roles and the world resoundingly accepted this attitude along, with two High School Musical sequels. The hit show Glee applauds acceptance of everyone no matter what. It championed the idea that students don’t have to play a certain role because we’re much more than that. The excitement surrounding the Glee series even indicates that this message of straying from the beaten path might not be novel anymore in today’s society.
Today there is also more encouragement to talk about our feelings. Silently suffering from our issues is no longer the only option. Laws have been put in place against bullying and a lot of time goes into preventing bullying when children are younger.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the Breakfast Club, I don’t think the teenage angst film can apply to high schoolers today. Students today cannot simply be boxed up into neat little categories, and nor do they want to be. There is also more encouragement to. The Breakfast Club, thankfully, does not speak to the generation that exists now, thirty years and eight days later.