Molly Ringwald: The Breakfast Club star ‘troubled’ by hit film

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Molly Ringwald’s essay asks how we should view art that comes to feel outdated or awkward with the passage of time

US actress Molly Ringwald, who starred as a teen in cult 1985 high school drama The Breakfast Club, has admitted she finds some of the scenes hard to watch now.

Writing in The New Yorker, Ringwald describes how she re-evaluated the film after her 10-year-old daughter asked to watch it.

“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 Breakfast Club, directed by John Hughes, was a critical and commercial hit. It tells the story of five very different teens forced to spend Saturday in detention together.

Ringwald, now 50, said one particular scene from the film nagged at her “after a number of women came forward with sexual assault accusations against the producer Harvey Weinstein, and the #MeToo movement gathered steam”.

The hashtag #MeToo was used by both women and men to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault in the wake of the Weinstein allegations, and evolved into a movement pushing for change.

“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.”

She notes that as a teenager, she was only “vaguely aware of how inappropriate much of John’s writing was”.

“It’s hard for me to understand how John was able to write with so much sensitivity, and also have such a glaring blind spot,” Ringwald writes of Hughes.

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Ringwald was among the stars of John Hughes films who paid tribute to the late director at the 2010 Oscars

But she also argues that in making films that centred on the experience of teenage girls, Hughes was a trailblazing figure for his era.

“How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose?” the actress asks.

The essay provoked a strong reaction on social media.

Hughes died in 2009, at the age of 59.

Ringwald said at the time: “I was stunned and incredibly sad to hear about the death of John Hughes. He was and will always be such an important part of my life.”

She also starred in his films Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink.