Molly Ringwald Reflects on Mixed Feelings Starring in John Hughes Classics Like ‘Breakfast Club

by Taylor Cunningham

John Hughes made Molly Ringwald a star in the 1980s by making her the poster girl of his cult classic films. But four decades later, Ringwald has “mixed feelings” about her roles.

Coming of age films like John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles told the story of the average teenager in the 1980s. And Molly Ringwald starred in all of them. As she told Mayim Bialik during Bialik’s podcast, she’s grateful to have had the chance to work with Hughes and become the definition of “all-American girl.” But she has “a lot of feelings about it, a lot of mixed feelings” about the writing. So many that one day, she hopes to write an entire book about them.

In 2018, Ringwald wrote an op-ed piece for The New Yorker titled What About the Breakfast Club. In it, she expressed her conflicted feelings about the films that made her famous. And on her episode of Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown, she went into further detail about the conflict.

Molly Ringwald became one of the first female protagonists when she started her partnership with John Hughes. And for that, she is grateful.

“First of all, there were not that many movies that were about young women. Where the protagonist was a young woman. Where they were the one that was directing the action. They weren’t just somebody’s girlfriend or love interest or daughter or whatever. So, you know, that made it sort of groundbreaking,” she told Bialik.

Ringwald also admitted that she “loves” the movies. Not only were they groundbreaking, but they were also “funny and light.” And as Hughes intended, the films “really reflected a lot of people’s feelings about insecurity and being different.”

Molly Ringwald is ‘Disturbed’ by Some of the Films She Starred in as a Teenager

But while Molly Ringwald is “grateful,” she finds it “a little disturbing” to think that some of the content was considered normal for the time.

The Riverdale star admitted that the on-screen situation that haunts her the most happened in Sixteen Candles. In it, Ringwald’s love interest, Jake Ryan, offers his drunk, passed-out girlfriend to another guy.

“The thing that really bothers me the most, which I wrote about, was the character of Caroline being sort of bartered by her boyfriend who’s supposed to be the dreamboat,” she said. “Jake Ryan basically barters her when she’s drunk … and that’s supposed to be okay.”

And that wasn’t the only storyline that upset Ringwald. Though she admitted that she and John Hughes had a strong, healthy friendship, which allowed her to scrap a lot of uncomfortable plot lines, some strange writing still made it into the films.

“If you read John’s early writing, even earlier scripts than Sixteen Candles, there was even more stuff that was really kinda inappropriate,” Ringwald added. “And when you read it now, you’re sort of like ‘what the? What was this person thinking?'”