Samantha (Molly Ringwald) is the average high school sophomore battling the aforementioned enigma. Freshmen crush on her, her parents misunderstand her and the “love of her life” doesn’t know she exists.
The most relevant comparison I made between the movie and Leesville involve Samantha’s hopeless crush and the neglect she feels from her parents.
Samantha spends the entire movie pining over Jake Ryan. She stares at him during class and tells her friends that she is still a virgin because she is “saving herself” for Jake. The movie ends with Jake arriving at Samantha’s church, only to whisk her away to a romantic, one-on-one birthday celebration. Does this really happen?
Sixteen Candles may be a classic, but it follows the same track of cliche romances that teen movies still follow today. Watching Samantha “get her guy” may give viewers that warm, fuzzy, romantic feeling, but it also gives girls false hope. I mean, how could a girl watch Samantha and Jake lovingly gaze at each other over a decadent birthday cake and NOT think “that could be me…”
So there’s one thing that hasn’t changed in movies since this classic comedy was made– the unpopular girl ends up with the popular guy, giving doubtful girls across America that glimmer of hope.
At least one character in the movie has the right idea, and that’s Samantha’s dad Jim Baker, who uttered the infamous line, “That’s why they’re called crushes. If they were easy, they’d call them something else.”
While the accuracy of the romance factor in the movie is disappointing, the movie’s portrayal of neglecting parents is exactly right. A sixteenth birthday is cherished by teenage girls in America, and the neglect of this birthday is completely unbearable.
When Samantha’s parents forgot about her sixteenth birthday, her hurt was obvious. Parents should always be there for their children and when they forget something as significant as a “sweet sixteen,” the result is heartbreaking.
Students at Leesville face issues with parents every day. Whether parents are neglecting (like Samantha’s), over protective, not present or just plain dense, most teenagers can not avoid imperfect relationships with their families.
So, sadly to say, strained relationships with parents are unavoidable, in eighties movies or in the eleventh grade at LRHS.
This movie may provide false hope, but its accurate portrayal of parents and other issues make it a classic nonetheless. Samantha’s comic relationships with her grandparents, friends and nerdy followers are hilarious and easy to relate to, making this movie a complete success.