Breakfast Club Movie Essay


The breakfast club movie reflects on a Saturday detection of a group of five students at Shemer High School who share their stories in a forced company. The five movie characters; John Bender, Claire Standish, Andrew Clark, Allison Reynolds, and Brian Johnson are respectively presented as the criminal, the princess, the athlete, the basket case, and the brain (scene 1). From growth and self-realization, the continued interaction throughout the hours of detection the five students begins to put their social differences aside and start accommodating themselves as friends (scene 10). Critical and creative analysis of the movie characters, plot, theme, and symbolism, the film relies on sociological and psychological perspectives to visualize a different aspect of social sanction, social status, and identity formation (scene 3-10).

From the chapter two of the text, there are five group developmental stages illustrated by ‘’The Breakfast Club’’ movie. The first group developmental stage is the forming stage where ice breaks; members orient themselves to different tasks and begin learning about each member. Evidently, John Bender appears to lead the group while other members are associated with ascribed status representing different social status. The second developmental stage illustrated by the chapter of the text is the storming stage where the characters assess individual’s emotional comfort, trustworthiness and evaluative acceptance. At the storming stage, group task functions, conflicts, and competitions are reflected (scene 4-7).

The third developmental stage demonstrated in the text is the norming developmental stage evidenced by clear role, responsibilities, consensus as well as agreements. At the norming stage, big group decisions are made where group spends the rest of the day smoking marijuana, Bender remains respected, and members of the group never fight. Maturity and self-realization mark performing stage. Members of the group discuss reasons for their detention, assist each other, forming and storming stage conflicts are settled, group members are assessed based on their individual behavior. The final developmental stage is the adjourning stage where the detention is over, sense of accomplishment is achieved, and members of the group can do something different (scene 10-11).

Based on the movie scenes analysis, the factors that contributed to the students’ group cohesiveness were time, location, the size of the group, and threats. The time which students spent in detention, smoking marijuana, and telling the personal stories strengthened their degree of cohesiveness, diffusion, and foreclosure. Comparatively, the size of the group was relatively small for Bender who emerged as a group leader to effectively control and manage. From functional and conflicts theories, common detention threat and location lead to stable group membership where members realized they could only cooperate, share tasks, and avoid conflicts to overcome their threats. For example, the small size of the group was easy to get convinced by John to smoke while the Vernon and the detention threats created an ultimate dysfunction forcing the students to unite and become friends (scene 4).

From chapter 7 of the text and specific movie scenes, the members of the group broadly and efficiently able to evaluate, interpret, remember, understand, and respond to each others’ question and statement. From the video scenes, the students can share their stories, accept themselves as weird and outcast, and band themselves together. For example, at the performing and adjourning developmental stage, conflicts and misunderstanding are efficiently solved as the group status and identity is created (scene 11).

The expected listening skills and related group role that members of the group in the movie that were to use to settle down group problems and conflicts were listening for details and listening for gist. Listening for details and listening for gist could allow each member of the group to get the whole picture, content, and interests to handle individual social status and identity efficiently. For example, John’s criminal and failure status could be easily understood increasing the group cohesiveness. Comparatively, the expected group roles related to the listening skills was ‘implementer’ and democratic role where the group members could be able to explore an alternative and transformative way of doing things to avoid conflicts. For example, members of the group could have exploited the symbolism and rationale of smoking or come up with alternative problems solving rather than smoking (scene 4-8).

The student diversity hindered the group ability to get together by creating different aspects of social identity formation, social sanction, and social status. Based on the movie scenes, the diversity created sociological, emotional, and interests conflicts expressed through the characters deviant behavior and acts.

The evaluation of independent traits’ role, attitude, and behavior, the five movie characters; Claire Standish, John Bender Andrew Clark, Allison Reynolds, and Brian Johnson respectively acted as the princess’ role, the criminal symbol, the athlete, the basket case role, and the brain symbol. The characters’ role affected the members of the group behavior and attitude through the creation of social sanction, social identity formation, and social status. From the scene, Claire displays achievement attitude and behavior, Allison and John presents moratorium and diffusion (trouble making) respectively (scene1-11). However, the characters behavior and attitude are based on their dependent social norms against social identity and status.


Hughes, John, Keith Forsey, Emilio Estevez, Anthony M. Hall, and Paul Gleason. Breakfast Club. Paris: Universal StudioCanal vidéo 1985.




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