Movie Night In: ‘The Graduate’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’

This week’s Movie Night In features two classic films about young adulthood. Yes, this was my first time seeing both of them in full. Yes, I do know I have lots of catching up to do in the world of cinema.

The first of the two is The Graduate from 1967, in which veteran actor Dustin Hoffman gave his breakthrough performance as the aimless college graduate Benjamin Braddock, who is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of his father’s business partner. They embark on a secret affair, complicated even further when Ben falls in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross). When Elaine finds out about Ben’s affair with her mother, the crazy reaches at a high.

The Graduate is truly an American masterpiece – beautifully shot, performances by a remarkable cast, features music from the great Simon & Garfunkel, and entertains through its dark comedic tone and forbidden love story. The plot and the events are a little out there, but hey, isn’t that Hollywood for you?


The second film I saw is arguably the best high school film of all-time, The Breakfast Club. Released in 1985 and written and directed by the iconic John Hughes (Who passed away last year from a heart attack), The Breakfast Club follows five students in Saturday detention, all who come from different cliques at their Illinois high school. It’s the perfect setting for a culture clash but as the hours painfully pass, the kids begin to open up to each other and realize that they share more in common than they thought. The cast includes Anthony Michael Hall as brainiac Brian, Judd Nelson as troublemaker Bender, Emilio Estevez as jock Andy, Molly Ringwald as pretty and primed Claire, Ally Sheedy as basket case Allison, and Paul Gleason as the tyrant principal Richard Vernon who is in charge of the Saturday detention.

Although the film is entirely set at the school, it is the furthest thing from boring. The characters are lively and it’s fun and hilarious to see the ways they pass the time. In the span of over 90 minutes, we feel like we’re friends with these kids – perhaps it’s also because we see ourselves in them. The film may be dubbed a comedy, but the subject matter gets deep and intense when we find out some of the Breakfast Club’s dark secrets, and how it’s shaped them into who they are and why they find themselves at school on a weekend. However, it is this human aspect that truly contributes to why The Breakfast Club is such a classic, along with its winning cast, direction, script, and humor. “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” the theme song by Simple Minds, will never be tiresome either.


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