Back-To-School Month: "Pretty in Pink" Review

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

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Back-To-School Month: "Pretty in Pink" Review

Rating: PG-13
Length: 96 minutes
Release Date: Feb. 28, 1986
Directed by: Howard Deutch
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

"Pretty in Pink" is a romantic comedy about the typical social structure of American high schools in the era in which the film was released. Even though "Pretty in Pink" was originally created with a teenage audience in mind, this film appeals to a wide variety of audiences. In fact, "Pretty in Pink" is considered a cult classic, keeping company with films such as "Pulp Fiction" and "Grease." After earning more than $6 million during its opening weekend and over $40 million by the end of its theatrical run, "Pretty in Pink" became one of the highest-grossing films of 1986.

Even though "Pretty in Pink" may seem like a predictable film with a fairytale ending, writer John Hughes is known for plot twists, and this film has some of his best. However, due to the audience's reaction to a plot twist during the film's original ending, the entire final scene was redone. This move actually made the film even less predictable, but it received much better reviews from the audiences who saw the film before it hit theaters.

The soundtrack for "Pretty in Pink" was one of the many reasons for the film's massive success. Several of the songs featured in the film went on to become international hits. Even though director Howard Deutch was pushing for theme music, writer John Hughes insisted on using new wave songs with punk influences much like the ones used in his previous movies. The film's title song was released in 1981 by the Psychedelic Furs, who recorded it again for the opening sequence of the film. Several preexisting songs were rerecorded in high-quality audio for "Pretty in Pink" while others were written specifically for the film. The soundtrack is one of the best parts of the film, especially during the climactic ending. Postpunk songs and new wave instrumentals set a consistent tone for this edgy, dramatic romance.

"Pretty in Pink" is a classic modern fairytale centered on a romance between two students at a local high school. Molly Ringwald portrays Andie Walsh, a girl from a working-class family who works at a music store with Iona, portrayed by Annie Potts, and lives an impoverished life with her father. In spite of the fact that nobody thinks they belong together, Andie has a huge crush on her wealthy classmate Blane McDonough. Andrew McCarthy portrays the character of Blane as a rich but kind boy with a heart of gold, but the other wealthy students do not generally share his warm attitude.

Much to the surprise of Andie, Blane makes his move by going to the place where she hangs out with other punks and new wavers. He asks Andie out on a date with him, much to the chagrin of Jon Cryer's character, Duckie. Duckie is Andie's handsome but temperamental best friend, and he has had feelings for Andie for a long time. Because of his crush on Andie and his strong dislike for wealthy students, Duckie does not think Blane is right for Andie. When Blane is late to pick Andie up for their date, Duckie and Andie get into a heated argument over whether or not Blane is good for her. Duckie eventually gives up and storms off, leaving Andie with Blane.

Steff and Benny, Blane's two close friends, are holding a party on the night of his date with Andie. He decides to take her there, but the party does not go well. Steff and Benny are both drunk, and they quickly begin bullying Andie until she leaves with Blane, who feels terrible. They go to a local club instead, where they run into Duckie and Iona. Duckie is still furious about the situation and is immediately hostile when he sees Blane. In an attempt to make Andie jealous, Duckie grabs Iona and kisses her unexpectedly. Blane and Andie leave quickly before the situation can escalate.

In spite of their rough first date, the romance between Blane and Andie begins to deepen in spite of the disapproval of their friends. Blane and Andie are even planning to go to the senior prom together, which is truly upsetting for Duckie, who now knows Andie doesn't return his feelings for her. Even as Blane and Andie grow closer, Andie and Duckie grow further apart. Unfortunately for the star-crossed couple, the world seems to be set on destroying their relationship, and it seems that Andie may have to make a very difficult choice between her romance with Blane and her friendship with Duckie.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars