Samantha had been looking forward to her sweet sixteenth birthday for years now and instead of being a magical day it becomes one of the worst of her life so far. Her family not even acknowledging that is is even her birthday!
Immediately you feel sorry for Samantha and I think that is essential to actually care about how her birthday goes. Considering even her own parents don’t remember about it due to her older sister’s wedding the following day just highlights that she has always been forgotten about. She is the middle child and everything points towards that. She must put up with the school geek trying to ask her out constantly and is in love with Jake who is very popular.
As far as High School/coming of age films go this certainly has everything in place but the only issue of watching it now in 2020 and not back in 1984 is that certain things cannot be ignored. The casual mentioning of date rape and having an unconscious girl that you could violate in ten different ways should never have been ok to say. I don’t think that could ever change context even in a different time period. As well as the whole character of Long Duk Dong, that just felt really awkward to watch as a total racial stereotype again something you could not get away with at all now.
While that is something that often happens when going back to different decades of films it was a little bit of a shame really. This was the first time I have watched Sixteen Candles and I had heard a lot of good buzz surrounding it but I am afraid quite a lot of it has dated badly. The positive can be the character of Samantha who can still easily be related to now, which shows that teenagers still have so many of the same things to deal with.
I am just catching up with the Brat Pack films and therefore just getting to know Molly Ringwald in these films. She plays the character very well and certainly has that normal feel to her that makes you relate to how she is feeling and her actions. Something that has withstood the test of time even if other things haven’t. I was probably most impressed with Anthony Michael Hall who put a lot of charisma across as a geek who really did not care what people thought of him, so maybe his character should be given more credit as well? Something the film lacks though is screen time for Joan Cusack who was funny in her limited screen time. The same goes for her brother John Cusack, we could have done with more of the pair of them!