Molly Ringwald on John Hughes Films: a 'Glaring Blind Spot'

Actress ties the #MeToo movement to the movies she made with late director
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2018 9:03 AM CDT
Molly Ringwald: How the Films I Made Tie Into #MeToo
In an Aug. 19, 2015, file photo, actress and singer Molly Ringwald performs with her band at the Jazz Cafe in London.   (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP, File)

A New Yorker essay by one of the 1980s' most iconic actresses is causing buzz as she looks at her old films through the lens of Me Too. Molly Ringwald is now 50 and with kids of her own, including a daughter with whom she watched The Breakfast Club a few years back—a move that raised some "uncomfortable questions" about how girls and women were treated in the movies she did with the late John Hughes (he also directed her in Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles). She praises Hughes for his belief in her acting skills, as well as for how his films struck a chord with lonely teens everywhere, but she also sees now that much of his writing was "inappropriate" and perpetuated gender stereotypes, sexual objectification, and misogyny. "It's hard for me to understand how John was able to write with so much sensitivity, and also have such a glaring blind spot," she notes.

Ringwald revisits early writing Hughes did for National Lampoon, and she didn't love what she found. The Washington Post notes online reaction to her essay, with BuzzFeed's Alanna Bennett calling it a "stellar example of what a personal reckoning looks like." Not everyone agrees, though, with Ringwald's take, or even her "self-serving" decision to criticize Hughes, as he's not alive to defend himself (he died in 2009 of a heart attack). Others say Hughes' films didn't only suffer from Me Too problems. "The whiteness of these films [is] as striking as the sexism," Rebecca Carroll, a WNYC producer, notes. It sounds like Ringwald herself hasn't totally reconciled her feelings. "How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose?," she writes. "What if we are in the unusual position of having helped create it?" Her full essay here. (She's not the only one squirming over Hughes' movies.)

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