Breakfast Club star Molly Ringwald recently revealed that she watched the film with her daughter and regrets one of the "embarrassing" scenes.
In an essay for The New Yorker, Ringwald shared her thoughts on the film in light of the #MeToo era.
The specific scene in question is one where Judd Nelson’s character hides under Ringwald's character's desk. “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 explained. “I was quick to point out to my daughter that the person in the underwear wasn’t really me, though that clarification seemed inconsequential.”
“It’s hard for me to understand how [director] John Hughes was able to write with so much sensitivity, and also have such a glaring blind spot,” the actress continued.
“I thought about it again this past fall, after a number of women came forward with sexual-assault accusations against the producer Harvey Weinstein, and the #MeToo movement gathered steam,” Ringwald continued. “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.”
The scene actually features an older actress filling in as a body-double for Ringwald, as she was only 16 at the time of the filming, a fact that she says also led her mother to have issues with the scene.
“My mom also spoke up during the filming of that scene in The Breakfast Club, when they hired an adult woman for the shot of Claire’s underwear,” the actress wrote. “They couldn’t even ask me to do it — I don’t think it was permitted by law to ask a minor — but even having another person pretend to be me was embarrassing to me and upsetting to my mother, and she said so. That scene stayed, though.”
While she has now realized that she has trouble reconciling some of the content that Hughes, who died in 2009, created, she does praise him for the positive aspects of his films.1comments
“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,” Ringwald said. “Even criticizing them makes me feel like I’m divesting a generation of some of its fondest memories, or being ungrateful since they helped to establish my career. And yet embracing them entirely feels hypocritical.”
“If I sound overly critical, it’s only with hindsight," she finally said. "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.”