Molly Ringwald is looking back at her iconic teen career through #MeToo glasses and doesn’t like what she sees.
The 1980’s teen queen revealed that some scenes from her memorable movies “bothered” her when she filmed them and more so now with a teen daughter in this era of the #MeToo movement.
The 50-year-old actress discussed films like “The Breakfast Club” and 1984’s “Sixteen Candles,” which were directed by the late John Hughes, in an interview with NPR.
“You know, when I made those movies with John Hughes, his intention was to not make Porky’s or Animal House. But I think, you know, as everyone says and I do believe is true, that times were different and what was acceptable then is definitely not acceptable now and nor should it have been then, but that’s sort of the way that it was,” Ringwald said.
“And as everyone knows, I feel very differently about the movies now and it’s a difficult position for me to be in because there’s a lot that I like about them. And of course I don’t want to appear ungrateful to John Hughes, but I do oppose a lot of what is in those movies,” she added.
Characters joking about sexual assault in scenes from “Sixteen Candles” bother Ringwald even more now looking back she explained as she discussed a scene from “Sixteen Candles” with her character’s crush, Jake Ryan.
“I’ve got Caroline in the bedroom right now passed out cold. I could violate her 10 different ways if I wanted to,” Ryan, played by Michael Schoeffling, said referring to his unconscious girlfriend who, in another scene, can’t remember having sex with another character.
“I do see it differently,” Ringwald said. “I mean, there were parts of that film that bothered me then. Although everybody likes to say that I had, you know, John Hughes’ ear and he did listen to me in a lot of ways, I wasn’t the filmmaker.”
“And, you know, sometimes I would tell him, ‘Well, I think that this is kind of tacky’ or ‘I think that this is irrelevant’ or ‘This doesn’t ring true,’ and sometimes he would listen to me, but in other cases he didn’t,” she added. “And, you know, you don’t want to speak up too much. You don’t want to cross the line. Or at least that’s the way that I felt at the time.”
Earlier this year, the mother of three re-examined her 1980s movies in an essay for the New Yorker, titled “What About ‘The Breakfast Club’? Revisiting the movies of my youth in the age of #MeToo.”
“If I sound overly critical, it’s only with hindsight,” Ringwald wrote in the piece, looking at hughes’ sexist and racist overtones in the films. “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.”
But Ringwald admitted she has a soft spot for the classic coming-of-age films that made her a teen icon.
“There’s something that really touches teenagers; especially ‘The Breakfast Club,’ I feel like sort of gives them permission to talk about their feelings — says that teenagers’ feelings really matter,” she told NPR. “And I think that’s a really powerful message and for that reason I really love it. ‘Pretty in Pink,’ I love my character. I think that she’s a strong woman, and I’m proud of the choices that she makes.”
“I believe that there is still a lot of good in the films and there’s a lot that I’m proud of. And I feel like in a lot of ways they’ve touched teenagers and sparked a conversation that is important,” Ringwald said. “And having a teenage daughter myself, I know that it’s not always easy to get teenagers to talk. But these films sort of break through that. You know?”
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