Molly Ringwald says she looks back with discomfort at The Breakfast Club after #MeToo movement

The actress penned an essay about her ‘troubled’ thoughts at the John Hughes classic

Actress Molly Ringwald has admitted that she finds some of the scenes of The Breakfast Club hard to watch now.

Ringwald, who starred in the 1985 hit high school drama, became an icon after appearing in another two John Hughes directed films – Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles.

However, now the star says she is troubled by some of the scenes in The Breakfast Club after her 10-year-old daughter asked to watch it.


Penning an essay for the New Yorker, Ringwald wrote: “I worried she would find aspects of it troubling.

“But I hadn’t anticipated that it would ultimately be most troubling to me.”

The actress went on to describe a scene that particularly stood out “after a number of women came forward with sexual assault accusations against the producer Harvey Weinstein, and the #MeToo movement gathered steam”.

Ringwald, now 50, detailed a moment where “bad boy character” John Bender ducks under the table to hide from a teacher and while there, peeks under Ringwald’s character Claire’s skirt.

The actress said: “Though the audience doesn’t see, it is implied that he touches her inappropriately.”

Ringwald goes on to explain that while filming the cult classic as a teenager, she was “vaguely aware of how inappropriate much of John’s writing was.”


She adds: “It’s hard for me to understand how John was able to write with so much sensitivity, and also have such a glaring blind spot.”

The actress also expressed her discomfort at a scene in another John Hughes movie – Sixteen Candles.

She explains: “I’m a little embarrassed to say that it took even longer for me to fully comprehend the scene late in ‘Sixteen Candles,’ when the dreamboat, Jake, essentially trades his drunk girlfriend, Caroline, to the Geek, to satisfy the latter’s sexual urges, in return for Samantha’s underwear.”

After her experience rewatching the films, the star explained she went on to watch and read more of the director’s work, including his writing for the National Lampoon. She says it left her disillusioned and she believed Hughes’ work could be, “racist, misogynistic, and, at times, homophobic”.

She asked: “How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose?”

Molly Ringwald in 'The Breakfast Club'
Molly Ringwald in ‘The Breakfast Club’

However, the actress argued the director was also a trailblazer of the era for focusing his work on the experiences of teenage girls.

She argued: “John’s movies convey the anger and fear of isolation that adolescents feel, and seeing that others might feel the same way is a balm for the trauma that teenagers experience… Whether that’s enough to make up for the impropriety of the films is hard to say.”

In the end, Ringwald says it is up to future generations to decide whether the content of Hughes’ films is still relevant.

She wrote: “The conversations about [the films] will change, and they should,”

“It’s up to the following generations to figure out how to continue those conversations and make them their own – to keep talking, in schools, in activism and art – and trust that we care.”

It’s not the first time the actress has spoken out about the #MeToo movement. Last year, she said that she was sexually assaulted by a director when she was 14.


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