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Molly Ringwald says her experience of watching The Breakfast Club with her eldest daughter was “emotional” and that while the John Hughes films she worked on are complicated in their representation, she doesn’t think they should be erased.
The Sixteen Candles and Riverdale star first reflected on the legacy of Hughes’ popular ’80s coming-of-age films in a 2018 New Yorker essay, in which she spoke about the sexism and noted the racism, misogyny and “at times, homophobic” elements those films embodied in light of the mounting allegations against the now-convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein.
During a recent interview with Andy Cohen for his SiriusXM show, Radio Andy, the actress spoke about why she chose to acknowledge that in her essay and why — even with those discriminatory and “troubling” elements in the films — they still seem to resonate with viewers.
“There’s elements of these films that I find homophobic. On the other hand, they’re also about people that felt like outsiders,” she said. “So they speak to a lot of people who feel — you know, they’re complicated.”
While Ringwald says speaking out was something that she wanted to do for future storytelling, she also doesn’t think the films should be “erased” due to their “troubling” content.
“I feel like that’s what makes the movies really wonderful, and it’s also something I wanted to go on record talking about — the elements that I find troubling and that I want to change for the future,” she elaborated. “But that doesn’t mean at all that I want them to be erased. I’m proud of those movies, and I have a lot of affection for them. They’re so much a part of me.”
The actress reiterated that she wrote the essay after watching one of the movies with her eldest daughter, Matilda, describing it as such an “emotional” experience, but she isn’t sure she could watch any of her Hughes’ works with her younger two children, especially daughter Adele.
“I know it definitely is a different time, but … people ask me if I’ve watched them with my kids, and I did watch the first one — which was the impetus to write that article — with Matilda. It was such an emotional experience that I haven’t — I haven’t found that strength to watch it with my two other kids,” she said.
“My 12-year-old daughter, Adele, is the most woke individual that you’ve ever met,” Ringwald told Cohen while laughing. “And I just don’t know how I’m gonna go through that, watching it with her and [her] saying, ‘How could you do that?'”
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