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Reflecting on those iconic John Hughes films in the #MeToo era

<<attends>> the Film Society of Lincoln Center's celebration of John Hughes on the 25th anniversary of his film
<> the Film Society of Lincoln Center's celebration of John Hughes on the 25th anniversary of his film "The Breakfast Club" at the Paris Theatre on September 20, 2010 in New York City.
John W. Ferguson/Getty Images

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In her New Yorker essay published last week, Molly Ringwald reflected on her iconic John Hughes roles that made her famous:

If attitudes toward female subjugation are systemic, and I believe that they are, it stands to reason that the art we consume and sanction plays some part in reinforcing those same attitudes.

I made three movies with John Hughes; when they were released, they made enough of a cultural impact to land me on the cover of Time magazine and to get Hughes hailed as a genius...There is still so much that I love in them, but lately I have felt the need to examine the role that these movies have played in our cultural life: where they came from, and what they might mean now.

Almost three decades later and in the era of #MeToo, Ringwald found the Hughes films full of misogyny and racism. She found this scene particularly problematic:

"Many people, including me, grew up loving [the films]," said Vanity Fair's Rebecca Keegan, "because they made a teenage girl a protagonist which was rare and rarer still was they took her interior life seriously."

Keegan explained why these problematic points may have been easier to overlook in the '80s. After all, movies about teenagers depicted as actual people was a novel concept.

Unfortunately, as [Ringwald] writes in this New Yorker essay, they also had embedded in them a lot of ideas about consent that as a culture we're now sort of trying to unlearn. And they were almost exclusively white, and when there was a kid who wasn't white, he was often the object of ridicule.

Some art ages well, and some doesn't.


On The Lot, Take Two's weekly segment about the business of entertainment and Hollywood, airs every Monday.