Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Breakfast Club: "Don't You (Forget About Me)"

            The final scene of The Breakfast Club is by far one of the most compelling scenes in the movie and cinematic history. Though five kids attend the same high school, they are forced to embrace their final goodbyes with one another. This is because society, friends, and peers deem their acquaintances with each other unacceptable.
The Breakfast Club’s atmosphere is composed of a pathos that’s experienced by the main characters, shared by audiences and enhanced by the theme song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. Emotions begin to run high as the rat pack leaves the school. The departure of Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), the athlete, and Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), the basket case, is a beautiful embrace. Andrew and Allison's last moment together is embracing their first and last kiss as their final goodbye.  As their lips touch, the lyrics “Tell me your troubles and doubts, giving me everything inside and out,” are resonated. According to Andrea Lunsford's Everything’s an Argument, “…use emotions to connect…assure them that you understand their experiences,” (33). Throughout the movie, each character is able to connect with one another as they share their troubles with school, life, and at home; they are issues they could never share with anyone else. With high school, everyone knows the pains and emotions that are created from the caste system know as “cliques”. Once you’re in one, contact is very limited with those outside your group, and even then, you can feel more alone than ever.
In Understanding Movies, Louis Giannetti claims, “…many musicians have complained that images tend to rob music of its ambiguity by anchoring musical tones to specific ideas and emotions,” (33). This is definitely not the case at all; in fact, it’s the complete opposite! When John Bender (Judd Nelson), the criminal, and Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), the princess, say goodbye, they must retreat back to their respective ends of the social spectrum. After they kiss and Claire drives away with her father, Simple Minds echoes, “Will you stand above me? Look my way never love me? Will you recognize me? Call my name or walk on by?” Deep down, each character wants to break down the barriers that are set up by society and forget what other people think. Unfortunately, that’s the kicker as well; what would their friends think? What would happen to their reputations? As Brian (Anthony Michael Hall), the brain, says in his letter, “You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.” Nothing sucks more than not being able to be with someone, let alone be seen talking to, just because society and its peers hold others up to such high and restricting expectations. All people, regardless of age, gender, or social group, know the pain and sense of being alone.
            The most powerful lyric is delivered in the final minutes of The Breakfast Club. As Allison takes Andrew’s varsity patch, and Claire gives John her earring, the most simple lyric is repeated for both occurrences, “Don’t you forget about me.” Even though they are restricted from making contact, there are no limitations to their memories. When Simple Minds starts back up, John is walking across the football field, and his final act is thrusting his fist in the air. For that one Saturday, they were able to break the barriers of society; they didn’t just serve a detention sentence, they achieved a victory. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds will forever be linked to The Breakfast Club. With such powerful lyrics, we can’t help to remember those who made and left an impact in our lives. It's best fitting as Brian ends his letter, “Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.” 

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