Molly Ringwald writes essay on John Hughes films in the #MeToo era

posted by Mark Robertson -

Molly Ringwald, star of teenage classics of yore The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink, revisited that era, and her overwhelming sense of her discomfort with it, in an essay for The New Yorker.

Ringwald, now 50, described how she has re-evaluated the cult 1980s films she starred in, in the wake of the #MeToo era, after her 10-year-old daughter asked to watch The Breakfast Club.

  • "I worried she would find aspects of it troubling," she writes. "But I hadn't anticipated that it would ultimately be most troubling to me."
  • The film, directed by John Hughes, was a huge critical and commercial hit and tells the story of five teens from different backgrounds forced to spend a Saturday together in detention.
  • In her essay, Ringwald said one scene haunted her "after a number of women came forward with sexual assault accusations against the producer Harvey Weinstein, and the #MeToomovement gathered steam." The #MeToo movement was created as a response to widespread allegations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and beyond.
  • "At one point in the film," Ringwald writes, "the bad-boy character, John Bender, ducks under the table where my character, Claire, is sitting, to hide from a teacher. While there, he takes the opportunity to peek under Claire's skirt and, though the audience doesn't see, it is implied that he touches her inappropriately."
  • Ringwald adds that when she was a teenager, she was "vaguely aware of how inappropriate much of John's writing was," and still can’t “understand how John was able to write with so much sensitivity, and also have such a glaring blind spot.”
  • "How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose?" the actress asks. 
  • Hughes died in 2009 and rose to fame as the director of The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink, among many others.

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