Movie Name: Pretty in Pink
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date(s): February 28, 1986
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) and her unemployed father (Harry Dean Stanton) struggle to get by in the upperclass community of Shermer, Illinois. Spending her days at the record store with her boss Iona (Annie Potts) and her smitten friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) at night, Andie secretly dreams of prom. When preppy Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy) shows interest in Andie, her dreams could come true…but can someone of her class ever date a guy with money?
Directed by Howard Deutch and written by John Hughes, Pretty in Pink is romantic comedy drama. The movie was critically praised and was a box office hit. The film has become a cult classic over the years.
I was too young for Pretty in Pink. Unlike some of John Hughes other films like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink seems to have more developed themes that make it a bit of a more mature movie than his other films…it kind of like the non-pig-blood drenched version of Carrie.
The tone of the movie is heavier than many of the other big movies that Hughes put out. There is a lot of drama with the missing mother, the class stuff, and general bullying. The movie is closer in tone to something like St. Elmo’s Fire than Weird Science…and it often is listed as a “Brat Pack” film (something that some of the later stuff isn’t always considered since Ringwald, Cryer, Spader, and McCarthy were kind of the younger generation of the Brat Pack).
One of the big areas of debate that the film brings up is the ending. Originally, Andie ended up with Duckie. Test audiences hated it and the ending was reshot with Blane getting the girl and Duckie getting a random girl (played by Kristy Swanson)…for me it didn’t work. I didn’t see Duckie and Andie ending up married, but I thought she’d put Duckie and her friendship (which also is a judgment of her entire life) above Blane who gets back in with a smooth line and Duckie’s help. Hughes tried to correct this ending with Some Kind of Wonderful in 1987.
The movie is a who’s who of people in the ’80s. Molly Ringwald is good as the nice (but alternative) girl, and Jon Cryer is the quintessential ’80s best friend as Duckie (Robert Downey Jr. was originally going to have the role). Spader is perfectly slimy as Steff, and I think Andrew McCarthy is should be called “Bland” as Blane. Anjelica Huston was originally wanted for Annie Potts (who works well), but Harry Dean Stanton is great as Andie’s father. Other actors appearing in the movie include Andrew Dice Clay, Dweezil Zappa, Gina Gershon, and Alexa Kenin (who died before the film’s release).
The movie is also visually totally ’80s. You have shoulder pads, ruffles, weird hats, and Miami Vice suits. The movie is also loaded with a great soundtrack circling around the Psychadelic Furs’ song “Pretty in Pink”…which leads to a pretty ugly final dress (the argument is that Andie is a free spirit and her dress is different…I just think it is kind of ugly).
Pretty in Pink is a necessity for ’80s watchers. The movie was one of those films that defined the generation and as a result it is a classic. It could have been a simple teen comedy, but something about Pretty in Pink made it a little more.