Molly Ringwald is an actress who is best known for having starred in multiple John Hughes films, including “Sixteen Candles,” “Pretty in Pink” and, of course, “The Breakfast Club.” Ringwald sat down with Couch Surfing by People TV recently, and the topic of a reboot of “The Breakfast Club” was mentioned. The actress immediately shut this idea down and added, as reported by Entertainment Weekly, “that that era of rom-coms were ‘of a certain time’ and there are ‘things that are not appropriate [now] that were barely appropriate then.’” From seeing “The Breakfast Club” myself, I can agree with her that doing a remake is not necessary. It is simply a classic movie that should remain a classic movie. It does not need to be remade because it was so well done originally, and people still enjoy it today. Ringwald looks at the issue of making a remake of the film from a different perspective. In the age of the #MeToo movement where women are speaking out about their experiences with sexual violence and harassment, Ringwald believes that the material included in “The Breakfast Club” would not be appropriate for this time in our society. I agree with Ringwald that with the intensity of the talk around sexual harassment in this day and age, it would not be best to recreate this movie, as it actually includes quite a bit of sexual harassment among the characters. The last thing we should be doing as a society is adding to this issue.
Back in April 2018, Ringwald wrote an essay published in The New Yorker, where she reflects on her experiences acting in Hughes’ films. She says in her essay, “lately I have felt the need to examine the role that these movies have played in our cultural life: where they came from, and what they might mean now,” mainly referring to the sexual material that is included in them. Ringwald even admits in her essay, “Back then, I was only vaguely aware of how inappropriate much of John’s writing was, given my limited experience and what was considered normal at the time.” It is interesting that back then it was completely acceptable to create films that contained such inappropriate material, especially for Hughes’ films which focused on young teenagers. In the time of those movies, it may have been more acceptable to include such material in films, but Ringwald has a point that sexual harassment is a huge issue today, so including this material in films now would likely be less accepted by viewers. Due to the growth of the #MeToo movement over recent years, it is truly a sensitive topic for victims, and even non-victims, of sexual harassment. It would not be right for the film industry to create more movies that include such sensitive material that impacts so many people. Ringwald makes an important point similar to this near the beginning of her essay where she says, “If attitudes toward female subjugation are systemic, and I believe that they are, it stands to reason that the art we consume and sanction plays some part in reinforcing those same attitudes.” By creating more movies that include this type of material, we as a society are only adding to an issue which is already a huge problem.
Ringwald is simply responding to the climate of our society today on the issue of sexual violence and harassment when she rejects the idea of rebooting “The Breakfast Club.” She is correct to say, as she did on her Couch Surfing segment, that “the world is a different place.” What was only lightly accepted in films in the time of those John Hughes movies is not accepted as well in our current time. In “The Breakfast Club,” the sexual material was mainly included to showcase part of the lives of teenagers in that time, as Ringwald points out in her essay that, “it can be hard to remember how scarce art for and about teen-agers was before John Hughes arrived.” Hughes created change in the film industry by developing teen movies that actually represented the true lives of teenagers. It just so happened that he included some inappropriate sexual material in those portrayals. Though it is great that he established movies that could really resonate with teenagers at the time, sadly that is not as accepted in today’s climate with the #MeToo movement growing, and everyone needing to be extra cautious about sexual harassment and violence.
As I mentioned earlier, “The Breakfast Club” doesn’t even need a remake because it is already iconic as it is. Rebooting it would take away from its meaning because it was created for a certain time period that does not necessarily apply to today. People can still enjoy the film and take from it what they will, but a reboot is definitely not necessary. In regards to Ringwald’s views, she is right that the world and society are different now, and with the seriousness of sexual harassment as a major focus of concern, it would not be right to present more films with this type of material to the public anymore.