Molly Ringwald feels differently about ‘Sixteen Candles’ in the wake of #MeToo

Molly Ringwald is looking at the movies that made her famous a bit more critically now.

In a recent interview with NPR, the actress discussed “Sixteen Candles,” the 1984 film directed by the late John Hughes that helped make her the teen queen of that era.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, some scenes are being viewed more critically today, such as the one in which the character Jake Ryan (played by Michael Schoeffling) says of his unconscious girlfriend, “I’ve got Caroline in the bedroom right now, passed out cold. I could violate her 10 different ways if I wanted to.”

“I do see it differently,” Ringwald said of watching the coming-of-age classic with her teen daughter. “I mean, there were parts of that film that bothered me then. Although everybody likes to say that I had, you know, John Hughes’ ear and he did listen to me in a lot of ways, I wasn’t the filmmaker.”

Such ’80s films were rife with that type of “humor,” and Ringwald starred in some of the more notable ones directed by Hughes, who died of a heart attack in 2009.

Now 50, the actress said that Hughes’ “intention was to not make ‘Porky’s’ or ‘Animal House.’ ”

“But I think, you know, as everyone says and I do believe is true, that times were different and what was acceptable then is definitely not acceptable now and nor should it have been then, but that’s sort of the way that it was,” Ringwald said.

“I feel very differently about the movies now, and it’s a difficult position for me to be in because there’s a lot that I like about them. And of course I don’t want to appear ungrateful to John Hughes, but I do oppose a lot of what is in those movies.”

It’s not the first time Ringwald has talked about these movies in the wake of the increased attention to allegations of sexual misconduct.

She wrote an essay for The New Yorker in April called “What About ‘The Breakfast Club’? Revisiting the movies of my youth in the age of #MeToo.”

In the piece, Ringwald examined both the sexist and racist overtones of some of the Hughes films, including sharing behind-the-scenes action involved in shooting “The Breakfast Club” scene in which a male character peeks under her character’s skirt with the implication he touches her inappropriately.

“If I sound overly critical, it’s only with hindsight,” Ringwald wrote. “Back then, I was only vaguely aware of how inappropriate much of John’s writing was, given my limited experience and what was considered normal at the time.”

In talking to NPR, Ringwald said despite it all she is proud of her work in those films and believes there is a great deal of good in them — especially the way they moved teens and inspired them.

“There’s something that really touches teenagers; especially ‘The Breakfast Club,’ I feel like sort of gives them permission to talk about their feelings — says that teenagers’ feelings really matter,” she said. “And I think that’s a really powerful message and for that reason I really love it. ‘Pretty in Pink,’ I love my character. I think that she’s a strong woman, and I’m proud of the choices that she makes.”

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