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 star 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 film at the time, becoming the mom of a teenage daughter has also changed her perspective on it.
“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.”
The film features male love interest and lead Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) talking 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.
Ringwald also noted that it’s important to 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.”
Molly Ringwald in recent years
Molly Ringwald in recent years
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: Molly Ringwald attends Chico's #HowBoldAreYou NYC Event at Joe's Pub on March 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Chico's)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Molly Ringwald attends New York Premiere of Sony's ROUGH NIGHT presented by SVEDKA Vodka at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on June 12, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SVEDKA Vodka)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Molly Ringwald attends the 'Rough Night' New York Premeire at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on June 12, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 06: Molly Ringwald and Panio Gianopoulos attend A Moth Summer Night's Dream: The 20th Anniversary Moth Ball at Capitale on June 6, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for The Moth)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Panio Gianopoulos (L) and actress Molly Ringwald attend the CBS Films And The Cinema Society Host A Screening Of 'Dean' at The Roxy on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Molly Ringwald attends the Broadway Opening Night Performance of 'Indecent' at The Cort Theatre on April 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Molly Ringwald attends the Planned Parenthood 100th Anniversary Gala at Pier 36 on May 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Actress Molly Ringwald attends Primary Stages 2016 Gala at 538 Park Avenue on October 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15: Actress Molly Ringwald attends 'A Tale Of Love & Darkness' New York premiere at Crosby Street Hotel on August 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Molly Ringwald attends the American Ballet Theatre Spring Gala at The Metropolitan Opera House on May 1 (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Molly Ringwald attends the 'King Cobra' Premiere - 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at Regal Battery Park 11 on April 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - APRIL 01: Actress Molly Ringwald discusses 'How a Teenage Icon (Sixteen Candles) Reinvented Herself as a Novelist' during the Palm Beach Book Fair on April 1, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mychal Watts/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: Molly Ringwald attends the cocktail party for the Vineyard Theatre 2016 Gala at the Edison Ballroom on March 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Actress Molly Ringwald performs at the Beverly Hills Holiday Lighting Ceremony on Rodeo Drive on November 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Rodeo Drive Committee)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Actress Molly Ringwald attends the 2015 24 Hour Plays On Broadway Gala at American Airlines Theatre on November 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Zak Photography/FilmMagic)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Molly Ringwald -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Molly Ringwald attends the Ars Nova Revolution Benefit at the Edison Ballroom on September 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
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The ‘80s icon insists that she was concerned about some of the film’s content even back when they were making it, saying, “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. 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 notes she was cautious about crossing a line with the director at the time. But just because she finds parts of Sixteen Candles problematic doesn’t mean that Ringwood is opposed to all of the Hughes’ films she made.
“Having a teenage daughter myself, I know that it’s not always easy to get teenagers to talk. But these films or 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.