Monday, September 1, 2014

Bittersweet 16

16 Candles is considered a cult classic movie to some people. On the other hand, others do not believe it is and think that it was simply cheesy movie that had a cliché ending. The premise of the movie is how the main protagonist Molly Ringwald spends her 16th birthday that is anything but sweet, as she suffers from every form of embarrassment possible, while crushing on the senior heartthrob. Although the movie illustrates the life of a quiet and shy girl who goes through some awkward situations that teens in high school at that time could relate to, the film contained several ideologies about high school relationships that don’t portray how relationships are in real life.

One of the major ideologies in the movie is that the hottest boy in the school (who is the love interest of Molly Ringwald in the movie) always has to have a gorgeous girlfriend. There have been a plethora of movies where the main protagonist has a crush on the most popular guy in school; however, he already has a beautiful girlfriend, and this movie was no exception to that statistic. High school relationships today, in this society, are completely different to what high school relationships where in the movie back in 1984. For example, all of the geeks in the film were stereotyped as kids who wore glasses, read sci-fi books, and don’t have girlfriends. In today’s society, most high schools do not label certain groups of people as geeks and assume all of them do not have girlfriends. Relationships in high schools today are nowhere close to what relationships were depicted in the movie that was filmed back in 1984.
On a more positive note, the film does show how the  main protagonist dealing with frustrating situations, such as having a crush on an older guy who is way out of her league in her mind, and how her family forgot her 16th birthday. There are numerous scenes where Molly Ringwald’s character is involved is some humiliating predicaments. In one scene, Molly Ringwald’s character Sam goes to a school dance in hopes of talking to her crush Jake. However, a freshman boy who is interested in Sam tries to impress her with his dance moves and humiliates her in front of Jake. Her humiliation could possibly relate to teens who have been embarrassed at some moment in front of their crush.
Even though Sam tries to get the attention of her crush Jake throughout the entire movie, she never tries to change herself physically. This element of the movie surprised me the most, because in movies with similar relationship plots, the main female protagonist tries to impress her crush by changing her appearance by dressing and or acting more sexually to get his attention. In the film, Sam never does that and is shocked that in the end, Jake liked her for quite some time because she was true to who she was and didn’t change who she was.
The end of the movie was very cliché and there wasn’t much creativity on how the movie ended. There a plethora of stereotypes, ideologies based on relationships, and racist jokes represented in the film. Nevertheless, the main protagonist showed never felt insecure about who she was as a person and dealt with crises that teenagers in high school could connect to.


  1. I love this movie! While I agree that at most high school cliques and stereotyping are not so simple as they are portrayed in the move, I do believe that high schoolers often characterize people and put them in boxes. I loved how you talked about the fact that she never changed herself for the guy. This is a very refreshing thing to see in a movie directed at young people.

  2. I love that you chose to analyze this movie! You perfectly captured what I have always thought/critiqued about this movie, and just how unrealistic it is at times. I like how you pointed out that she never chose to change her appearance or personality for the guy, because I had never before taken note of that. But I wonder, specifically, what you mean by how relationships are different now vs in 1984?