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Pretty In Pink

Year: 1986
Studio: Paramount
Director: Howard Deutch
Producer: Lauren Shuler
Writer: John Hughes
Cast: Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer, Annie Potts, Harry Dean Stanton, James Spader, Gina Gershon, Andrew Dice Clay

It's fortuitous that I should be writing this review in the weeks immediately after John Hughes death. I read an article a few weeks ago about how he'd become a virtual recluse in his native Chicago, and I wonder what politics or loss of heart stopped him making movies. Maybe he just got too old and lost his connection to youth, because no other director has so spoken to and about teenagers and the young before or since.

He took them seriously, knew what aesthetic they liked (in this case, a kind of stylised punk princess) and dressed it up in the hip fashions, music and culture of the day. In the years since, the only movie I've seen close to not treating teenagers as eternally happy, horny morons is Girl Next Door.

Andie (Hughes muse Ringwald) is torn. She knows the life of the snobbish richies isn't for her, but she's madly in love with Blaine (McCarthy) and doesn't want to turn into one of the 90210-alikes and lose her sense of self if she gets into anything with him.

She's not even sure about the rite of American passage, the prom – whether it's a 'stupid tradition' or whether every girl deserves the chance to be a princess and believe the fairy tale for one night.

To make matters more complicated, she doubts Blaine will ever show her the dog-like devotion her childhood friend Duckie Dale (Cryer) does, riding around to see her on his bike and offering to protect her from bullies when he'd stand no chance.

It's the music, the attitude and the 80s, and along with Simpson and Bruckheimer, Hughes is one of the few names who deservedly owned the decade.

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