Sixteen Candles - Film Review

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Posted 2023-09-21 by PerthKelfollow
Sixteen Candles is a classic 1980s teen movie that follows the story of Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald), a high school sophomore who is struggling to navigate the challenges of growing up. The film explores themes of identity, social hierarchies, and the complexities of teenage relationships, and has become a cultural touchstone for a generation of viewers.

The film opens on the eve of Samantha's sixteenth birthday, an important milestone in any teenager's life. However, Samantha's excitement is tempered by the fact that her entire family seems to have forgotten about her birthday. To make matters worse, Samantha is hopelessly in love with Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling), the popular and handsome senior who barely knows she exists.

Samantha's problems are compounded by the fact that her family is preoccupied with her older sister's upcoming wedding. Her parents Jim and Carlin, played by Paul Dooley and Carlin Glynn, are frazzled and stressed as they try to manage the wedding preparations, while her sister Ginny, played by Blanche Baker, is preoccupied with her own concerns.

Throughout the film, Samantha struggles to find her place in the world. She is caught between her desire to fit in with the popular crowd, represented by her best friend Randy (Liane Curtis) and her crush Jake, and her own sense of individuality. She is acutely aware of her status as a "nobody" in the high school social hierarchy and longs to be seen as more than just another face in the crowd.

One of the central themes of Sixteen Candles is the tension between conformity and individuality. Samantha is constantly struggling to balance her desire to fit in with the expectations of others and her own sense of identity. Her attempts to be more like Randy and Jake result in some of the film's most memorable moments, including a disastrous party scene in which Samantha gets drunk and makes a fool of herself.

At the same time, Samantha is also struggling to assert her own independence and stand up for herself. She is frustrated by the way that her family and friends seem to take her for granted and longs for someone to notice her and appreciate her for who she is. In this sense, the film can be seen as a coming-of-age story, as Samantha begins to find her own voice and assert her own needs and desires.

Another important theme of the film is the way that social hierarchies and cliques operate in high school. The film portrays the complex web of relationships and power dynamics that govern teenage social life, with the popular kids at the top and the "losers" at the bottom. Samantha is acutely aware of her own position in this hierarchy and is constantly striving to move up.

However, the film also challenges these social hierarchies, suggesting that they are ultimately shallow and meaningless. Jake, the most popular boy in school, is shown to be unhappy and unfulfilled in his own life, despite his outward success. Samantha, on the other hand, finds a deeper connection with the shy and sensitive Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), a foreign exchange student who is also struggling to find his place in the world.

The film's portrayal of race and ethnicity has been criticized in recent years, with some critics arguing that the character of Long Duk Dong is a caricature of Asian stereotypes. However, others have defended the film, arguing that it is ultimately a sympathetic portrayal of a character who is struggling to fit in and find acceptance.

One of the things that sets Sixteen Candles apart from other teen films of the 1980s is its emphasis on female friendship. While Samantha's relationship with Jake is a central plot point, her friendship with Randy is just as important. The two girls have a complex and nuanced relationship that is rarely seen in teen films, and their scenes together are some of the most memorable in the movie.

In particular, the scene in which Randy confides in Samantha about her own struggles with body image and self-esteem is a powerful moment that speaks to the way that teenage girls support and empower each other. This emphasis on female friendship and solidarity was ground-breaking for its time and helped to pave the way for other films and TV shows that would explore these themes in more depth.

Another notable aspect of Sixteen Candles is its soundtrack, which features a mix of iconic 80s pop hits and lesser-known indie tracks. The film's use of music is an important part of its appeal, helping to capture the mood and spirit of the era in which it was made. Songs like If You Were Here by the Thompson Twins and True by Spandau Ballet have become synonymous with the film and are still beloved by fans today.

In addition to its music, Sixteen Candles is also known for its memorable characters and quotable lines. From the irrepressible Long Duk Dong ("Oh, sexy girlfriend!") to the nerdy and awkward Farmer Ted (Anthony Michael Hall), the film is full of memorable performances and iconic moments. Some of the film's most famous lines, like "What's happening, hot stuff?" and "Don't you forget about me," have become part of popular culture and are still referenced and quoted today.

In many ways, Sixteen Candles is a time capsule of the 1980s, capturing the spirit and energy of a decade that is still fondly remembered by many. Its themes of identity, conformity, and individuality continue to resonate with audiences today, while its memorable characters and iconic moments have become a part of popular culture. While the film has its flaws and has been criticized for its portrayal of race and ethnicity, it remains a beloved and influential classic that continues to inspire and entertain audiences of all ages.

262920 - 2023-09-21 06:21:01


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