Saturday, January 14, 2006

Saturday, April 09, 2005

James Wolcott

“….. A lot of The Breakfast Club is noise and sham and posturing--it even ends with a raised fist. But Hughes' gift for comic interplay is intact, and he works spooky wonders with Ally Sheedy. Sixteen Candles made a national sweetheart out of Molly Ringwald; The Breakfast Club may prove to be Ally Sheedy's valentine….

“…. Ally Sheedy … makes off with the chesse in the mousetrap. In WarGames and Oxford Blues, Sheedy played all-American scrub-faced virtue--she looked as if she could be behind the counter at McDonald's, serving burgers with a smile. Vitamin-enriched in those films, she looks vitamin-deficient here. As Allison, The Breakfast Club's unkempt weirdie, Sheedy wears her bangs long and shaggy, munches on her lower lip, and makes noises like a cornered rodent. She is the school's beatnik-witch nut case, shaking dandruff from her hair like a snowfall and squirreling away so much junk in her purse that someone asks her if she's, like, planning to become a bag lady. Not only is Sheedy's performance wickedly, sympathetically dead-on--she brings to mind every harmless, lonely dark-haired loony who ever haunted a high school corridor--but she seems to have been cracked open as an actress by this role. For long stretches in the movie's early sequences, Allison doesn't speak, but Sheedy's eyes are dartingly alive, with a madwoman-in-the-attic glint. She's like Sissy Spacek in Carrie, so into the character that her gaze becomes spectral.

“So it's a betrayal when Allison gets a Mademoiselle-style make-over from Claire and emerges from the bathroom conventionally pretty--she was far more fetching in her black sweater and bangs…. Yet for all its flaming bull, I enjoyed most of The Breakfast Club… It really is a play, a play in which the message is hooey and the dialogue is strained but th eactors are loose, likable, attuned to each other--comically in sync. In one music-video sequence… Ringwald and Sheedy are paired together on a balcony, and they even dance in character. Ringwald's Claire is open and confident in her movements; Sheedy's Allison is pulled in and mousy. Little ensembe touches like that make up for a lot….”

James Wolcott
Texas Monthly, date?

(but see Wolcott's review of Vagabond, almost a retraction)

David Edelstein

“The actors are splendid--only Nelson more obnoxious than his obnoxious character warrents. . . . Best of all is Ally Sheedy, who plays one of those odd, silent girls who sit in back of a class and never say anything--they might be weaving spells. She's witchy and sly, and she blurts her lines in a voice unaccustomed to being a mouthpiece for so nimble a mind.

“A special purity attaches to a project like this, and one envies these kids their exclusive seminar in acting and group dynamics. You can imagine them making lists of their characters' favorite foods and colors and rock groups; you can picture them doing improvs and mirror exercises and trying one another's roles on for size. They do achieve communion, but that has little to do with the plodding speeches in the script. No, these kids touch one antoher because they're acting together, as an ensemble, and the theater is the only place in high school where jock and nerd, princess and recluse, brain and moron work in tandem. And love it. What lives in The Breakfast Club is the joy of making scenes.”

David Edelstein
Village Voice, February 26, 1985 ?

Pauline Kael

“But the only performance that has a comic kick to it is Ally Sheedy's. She's a flip-out, a girl who hides in her clothes and thinks she's being a loner and a mysterious recluse. Bundled up in her black shawls and layers of cloth, she's like a junior Madwoman of CHaillot; with her forehead hidden under her dark hair, and her chin held down, she's furtive yet bold. Her minx's face is a tiny triangle in the darkness. When she moves, she darts, and when you see her eyes they dart, too, and flash--they're the eyes of someone who's secretly grining [I saw pain]. Crazy sounds come out of her, and she does eccentric things--like drawing a picture of a winter scene and shaking her dandruff on it for snow. She's a marvellous comic sprite, a bag-lady Puck. And then John Hughes makes his soggiest mistake: the princess takes her in hand, scrubs all the back eye makeup off her, gets her out of her witches' wrappings, and brushes her hair back and puts a ribbon in it, and she comes forth looking broad-faced and dull. But she's supposed to be beautiful, and she captures the jock's heart.

…. [A]ll this encounter-session movie actually does is strip a group of high-school kids down to their most banal longings to be accepted and liked. [Banal?] Its real emblem is that dreary, retro ribbon.”

Pauline Kael
The New Yorker, April 8, 1985