John Hughes’ 1985 film, The Breakfast Club is a teen movie that addresses the imperative stage of childhood to adulthood transformation in a school set up. From a sociological point of view, the film brings forth an important display of teenagers’ interactions that is based on social labels, that is, appearance, interests and general behavior. The five major teenagers in the film, Allison, Andrew, John, Brian, and Claire are different in appearance, interests, and their behaviors too. The manner in which the story is presented remains relevant to the current times and is applicable to the adolescents’ daily lives.
One intention of the director was to depict how prevalent the issue of sexual activity was in the United States high schools. This intention was met since the film focuses directly on the adolescents, who while in high school, are driven by the physical and emotional changes they experience to indulge in sexual activities. In addition, the teenagers, for instance John and Allison despite having cozy relationships with their parents, still go into smoking cigarettes.
The overall production of the film in parenthesis to the manner in which it is presented emphasizes on the issues affecting teenagers in high school and therefore affects the theme. One important scene in the film is when Claire is dropped at school in his father’s BMW to the envy of the other students. She seeks approval from her schoolmates to the point that she is ashamed of being a virgin. John at one point leaves the library and goes outside to smoke. These two scenes are important in the development of the story which according to my understanding wanted to show the prevalence of drug abuse and sexual activity in high school adolescents.
Major substantive points of the movie are social difference, adolescence, and individual internal similarity. The secondary points that can be drawn from the film are social penetration, and parents to children relationship. An “unintentional” result of the movie is that it surpassed the target audience that was initially the adolescents and high school students and is enjoyed even more by the grown ups.
The movie illustrates different themes that arise from various students’ backgrounds and their social life. Different social set up has molded the students differently thus influencing their behavior in their daily life. The parental and emotional abuse theme comes out clearly according to how the students behaved while at the library. John was more vocal of all the students when they were detained in the library by their antagonistic deputy principal in the library. It is not coincidence that John later reveals that his parents constantly abuse him. The aspect of abusive families in the society is also portrayed in the movie. This is illustrated by Bender who mocks others and even sexually harasses others.
The theme of social alienation comes out clearly when other students behave quietly in the library and do not contribute to the talks in the library unless an outburst that breaks the silence amongst the students. The theme of double standards is well illustrated when some of the students are naïve about their virginity status and in the same case they fear doing sex and also does not want the others to laugh at them. The other theme is gender, in the movie The Breakfast Club both genders are represented even though not equally.
There are several cultural concepts brought clearly example social morality of the society in which the students comes from is illustrated differently by the students in the library. Parental guidance is also shown clearly, for example some students fear their parents. The social concept of teenage friendship is also shown on how the students associate with each other in the school setup for example kissing and how they view their sexuality. The environmental setup of the students differ and this helps to build their character differently also the concept of drug abuse is well defined when some of the students smoke in the school.
The strongest issues that emerge in the movie The Breakfast Club is stereotype. The director of the movie introduces all the characters involved in the movie in a stereotypic manner. Stereotypes are beliefs which individuals adopt while performing their daily duties. In most cases stereotypes do not precisely reflect the authenticity of the characters. In the movie each character has a nickname that reveals his/her identity: Claire as the beauty, Brian as the Nerd, Andrew as the Jock, John as the Rebel and Allison as the Recluse.
At the beginning of the movie, all the characters behaved differently and uniquely. Initially John directed his anger to Claire and Andrew; where else the Brian was viewed by his colleague as a perfect person. However, as time passed by the true character of all the characters was revealed as they interacted among themselves. And by the end of the movie, we learn that all the characters in the movie have more similarities than we expected. At the end of the movie all the characters became good buddies.
The popular culture theme in the movie The Breakfast Club is social barrier. The beliefs and behavior of each character in the movie is influenced by their social background. For instance John’s character was influenced by his abusive father. The breakdown of social barrier in the society is the main theme which the director of the movie tends to convey.
The popular culture theme in this movie can be compared to the emotional and social barrier themes portrayed in the movie The Barrier by Fareed Ramadan. According to Ramadan, both emotional and social barriers are imposed upon persons by either the society or by themselves. Therefore, social barriers in the society are not inborn but are developed in the course of our life. The major fact that facilitates social barrier in the society is stereotype.
The movie The Breakfast Club and the movie the Barrier have similar cultural themes. In both movies, the characters were unable to communicate with their colleagues due to their stereotypes. Their inability to understand their own needs and emotion was the main reason why they failed to communicate with each other without any problem. Thus, they failed to establish a strong and healthy relationship with their colleagues at the first place.