Molly Ringwald Says She Was ‘Bothered’ by Parts of ‘Sixteen Candles’ When Making It
By Rachel McRady
The 1984 John Hughes flick, Sixteen Candles, has long been hailed as a coming-of-age classic, but in light of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, a lot of the story’s plot has been seen as problematic by both fans and now the film's leading lady, Molly Ringwald.
The 50-year-old actress opened up to NPR about the film more than three decades later, saying that while she had some problems with the movie at the time, becoming the mom of a teenage daughter has also changed her perspective on it.
In Sixteen Candles, male love interest and lead Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) ponders about the possibility of “violating” his unconscious girlfriend, Caroline (Haviland Morris), and later shows Caroline not remembering having sex with Ted (Anthony Michael Hall) after Jake sends her home with him.
“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 of the ‘80s. “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.”
Ringwald also noted that it’s important for her not to criticize or “appear ungrateful” to late director John Hughes, who is known for Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and more classics, but added, “But I do oppose a lot of what is in those movies.”
The ‘80s icon insists that she was concerned about some of the content in Sixteen Candles even back when they were making it. “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," she noted. "And, you know, sometimes I would tell him, ‘Well, I think this is kind of tacky’ or ‘I think that this is irrelevant’ or ‘this doesn’t ring true,’ and sometimes he would listen to me, but in other cases he didn’t.”
Ringwald admitted that she was cautious about crossing a line with the director at the time. The actress added that just because she finds parts of Sixteen Candles problematic, that doesn’t mean she is opposed to all of the films she made with Hughes.
“Having a teenage daughter myself, I know that it’s not always easy to get teenagers to talk. But these films [were able to] break through that,” she said. “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.”
This isn’t the first time Ringwald has spoken up in light of the #MeToo movement. Last October, she penned a piece for The New Yorkerdiscussing her own sexual harassment at the age of 13.
For more from the #MeToo movement, watch the clip below: