The Breakfast Club-We are all bizarre
There are not many American high-school movies that show students of different social groups put in a room and interacting with each other – trying to cope with a situation and understand one another. Most of these movies have established themselves with the foundation that there are jocks and cheerleaders and/or prom queen material who are the popular ones and at the top of high school social strata, and then there are nerds and geeks who are at the lower end of the strata – who are often the ones bullied by the popular ones. I can name 15-20 movies with the same storyline, where eventually the unpopular ones become more famous or loved by the school and the popular ones are shown as the bad ones. Let me tell you, The Breakfast Club, is similar yet so different from these movies and was way ahead of its time.
Released in 1985, the central theme of the movie is that everyone has their own problems and everyone deals with their problems differently. One of the most popular quotes of the movie says it all.
In this movie, everyone is bizarre, everyone is a little screwed up and everyone has their own reasons to be sad. Everyone is compromising and everyone has settled to their status quo in the school.
While showing these emotional layers of each character, this movie also shows how incredibly different these people going through the high-school experience can react. We also don’t see the popular ones bullying the unpopular ones – what we see is these emotionally distant teenagers rebelling – and at the same time, settling. We do see traces of bullying and its effect on the five central characters, but in a higher sense, we see these characters being more bullied by themselves and their stubbornness of being complacent to the high school norms.
We see parental issues and how the parents of the main five have been either distant or overprotective and how that has led them to become emotionally screwed up. We see peer pressure and how being friends with the popular ones can be more an obligation than a choice. We see eccentricism and how unacceptable that can be. We see these characters interact with each other and how they, bringing their individual experiences and personalities into the conversations, make it collectively meaningful. While they all envy each other, they realize that they all have their own issues and everyone is trying to cope. Just, cope!
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The movie brilliantly delivers the message that we are all fucked up in some sense – we are all trying to get better and trying to cope – but sometimes we make it too hard for each other. If only we could be friends no matter what social strata we belong to and stop bringing each other down for the same, we could come up with a collective solution for our problems.
And, if we are all bizarre, actually nobody is bizarre. We are just humans!