Molly Ringwald is looking back at the movies she made with director John Hughes through the lens of the #MeToo movement — and finds them "troubling."
In an essay for The New Yorker, the actress writes, "How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose? What if we are in the unusual position of having helped create it?"
She relates how she watched "The Breakfast Club" a few years ago with her daughter and was troubled by scenes like the one where Bender (Judd Nelson) looks up Claire's skirt.
"What's more, as I can see now, Bender sexually harasses Claire throughout the film," Ringwald writes. "When he's not sexualizing her, he takes out his rage on her with vicious contempt, calling her 'pathetic,' mocking her as 'Queenie.' It's rejection that inspires his vitriol ... He never apologizes for any of it, but, nevertheless, he gets the girl in the end."
Ringwald makes clear how much she loved and respected Hughes, but also admits that many aspects of his films (including "Sixteen Candles" and "Pretty in Pink") don't sit well with her, including racist, misogynistic, and homophobic language and behavior.
"John's movies convey the anger and fear of isolation that adolescents feel, and seeing that others might feel the same way is a balm for the trauma that teen-agers experience," she writes.
"Whether that's enough to make up for the impropriety of the films is hard to say — even criticizing them makes me feel like I'm divesting a generation of some of its fondest memories, or being ungrateful since they helped to establish my career. And yet embracing them entirely feels hypocritical. And yet, and yet ...."