Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald), contends with the pain of unrequited love and turning sweet sixteen in John Hughes’ goofy yet charming coming of age story. A film that delivers the usual set of 80’s teen movie tropes; the dance, the party, nerd jokes, and plenty of alcohol. But also treats its lead protagonist’s with respect, while delivering really memorable dialog and great moments of humor.
So while the ‘Geek’ (Anthony Michael Hall) makes an absolute fool of himself, we learn his actions are just an exaggerated depiction of his difficulty with adolescence. Played to great comic effect for sure, but done in such a way to prevent the character becoming another mindless sex crazed dweeb – something we’ve seen in so many other less developed teen comedies.
The same goes for Samantha. She’s not just a boy crazed shallow high school student. She’s real, unsure and shy. Awkwardly navigating her way through a couple of hectic days with her family as they celebrate her sisters wedding. Her needs are honest, and the relationship with her parents is that of a typical teenager, and not overblown and contrived into something unnatural.
Molly Ringwald does a great job of presenting a relatable character the audience can root for. As does Anthony Michael Hall, and though this movie is primarily told from Samantha’s point of view, everyone watching Sixteen Candles should be able to relate to these characters. Irregardless of gender, or decade they were born in.
This is a classic 80’s teen romantic comedy, but it has a softer side too. The film’s inclusion of the Asian exchange student, Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), as a sex crazed party animal, might offend some people. The movie is rated R for language, alcohol use and brief nudity.
This movie isn’t big on flashy visuals, so a regular dvd or blu-ray on your TV at home will service this film well enough. This movie would be fun to watch with a group of people nostalgic for 80’s cinema.
Near the beginning of the film, Samantha is in class, filling out a friends questionnaire about sex. The next question on the paper asks who she would like to have sex with, so she slowly turns her head to stare at Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling). He notices and she panics, but manages to play it off like she’s got an itchy cheek, and slowly turns away.