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“The Breakfast Club” is the film that changes a lot of thoughts and feelings about different types of people. The majority of humans see others the way they want to see them, not the way they are. Also, many of us create a shell or image for others not to see our genuine feelings, thoughts, and fears. People humiliate, insult, and hate each other, not paying attention to the soul and heart of a person. All of these are caused by the society and its influence on the people.
“The Breakfast Club” was released in 1985. The film shows that the society affects not only adults but also children. Five students from different social groups were punished by teachers and had to spend all Saturday in the school library together. They hated each other, but through communication they started to realize that they were very interesting personalities and had many things in common. Despite the deep and serious subtext, the film is funny and easy to watch.
Social Psychological Concepts
Social psychology is a science that studies how people think, feel, and behave towards other people; how different people influence the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others. Social psychologists study many different areas and topics. That is why there is a great variety of social psychological concepts and theories.
“The Breakfast Club” is the film that is totally based on social problems; and it shows how these problems influence the personal feelings and behaviors of the children. Any behavior is caused by the atmosphere in the family, at school, job, or another sphere of society. The film tries to clarify that people not always behave negatively because they are bad but because the certain situation makes them do it.
The film presents such social psychological concepts as depression, shame-guilt proneness, conformity, aggression, dehumanization, impression management, self-handicapping, self-destructive behavior, attachment theory, self-verification, and others. Each main character of the film suffered from some problem. Their nicks showed their social position. Princess is a pretty girl with rich parents, and athlete – a boy with the goal always to win. Brain is a boy who wanted his parents to be proud of him, and criminal – a cool guy that always did what he wanted. Psycho is just a girl who suffered from the parents’ ignorance.
Let us examine some social psychological concepts and provide examples from the film.
Impression management is a social psychological concept that studies the way people build others’ opinions in the service of personal or social goals. In other words, a person wants others to see him/her as cool and behaves that way. However, in reality he/she is not like that. It is just a mask for others.
Through the film, there were many moments when I recognized this concept. All main characters were trying to create some impression of them. For example, John, the criminal, tried to annoy and humiliate everyone in the group for the first two hours of the punishment time, but then everyone realized that John was not so bad. On the contrary, he was fair, fearless, and protective. Brian, the brain, tried to make an impression of a cool guy with many girls and serious relationships, in the conversation with John and Claire. In reality, he was very shy and virgin. Alison, the psycho, wanted everyone to see her as a weird and neglected girl, and the one who very soon would run away from her family and that town. Instead, she was a regular girl who wanted just to attract attention of her parents. Andy, the sportsmen, wanted to be as cool in the school as his father was. Contrarily, he was very thoughtful young man who did not want to upset his parents.
People often resort to impression management. They think that they can always fool others. Partially, it is true. Nevertheless, people cannot outwit themselves, not for a long time. Sooner or later, the person becomes tired of pretending, and after that, it is very hard to present yourself to others as you really are.
Shame-guilt proneness concept studies the emotions that require recognition of a self that evaluates itself against standards, rules, and goals. This social problem was raised in the film and touched me very deeply. It was when Andy told the group about the accident in his life. Having heard a lot of stories about his fathers’ pranks, he humiliated and beat a boy named Larry. He thought that his father was disappointed in his peaceful school life and wanted to prove the opposite. After the accident, all Andy could think about was Larry’s father and his reaction to what had happened. He realized that he deeply hurt the boy and knew that there was no way to apologize. The main thing was that he did not want to do it; he did it because of his father. Andy felt very guilty.
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In our world, a strong person always takes advantage of a weak one. When you hurt the feelings of the person, it is not a cool thing. It is humiliation for both parts. Andy realized it and felt that his act was foolish and paltry. To accept the consequences of your mistakes is the first step towards being a good and sincere person.
Sometimes people do things that will cause them trouble or bring them failure. They know that there would be bad implications for their deeds, but they continue to do it, to prove that they are strong and independent.
Through the film, there was a moment when I clearly saw one form of self-destructive behavior. John, the criminal, always did things contrary to the expectations of others. He was not afraid of anything. Therefore, when there was a dispute between the teacher and him, he behaved in a self-destructive manner. He perfectly knew that each his word in the quarrel would cost him one more Saturday punishment. In spite of this, he continued to speak and offend the teacher.
Self-destructive forms appeared also in the behavior of Alison. All her school life she avoided other pupils and isolated herself. She had no friends and no acquaintances. However, Saturday punishment showed her that she was not alone, that everyone had problems and tried to cope with them. At the end of the film, Alison opened herself to others and became happy and loved.
Life is full of problems and tormented people. To live long and happy life, one should find strength to solve problems and always remain kind in the heart.
After watching the film, a lot of my thoughts and attitudes changed. I realized that all five children had one and the most significant problem. They all suffered from their parents. Very often, parents require too much from their children or do not pay them necessary attention. All these factors influence child’s behavior and mind.
Concluding, with the help of the film, I have understood that the majority of people look only at the surface of a person, not at the deep and suffering soul. We should try learning to be kinder to others.
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