TL;DR — A wonderfully nuanced look at John Hughes by none other than Molly Ringwald. Liberated from a private share.
“Pretty in Pink” features a character, Duckie, who was loosely based on my best friend of forty years, Matthew Freeman. We’ve been friends since I was ten, and he worked as a production assistant on the film. Like Emil, he’s out now, but wasn’t then. (It’s one of the reasons I’ve often posited, to the consternation of some fans and the delight of others, that Duckie is gay, though there’s nothing to indicate that in the script.) “The characters John created spoke to feeling invisible and an outsider,” Matt told me recently. They got at “how we felt as closeted gay kids who could only live vicariously through others’ sexual awakenings, lest we get found out with the very real threat of being ostracized or pummelled.”
John’s movies convey the anger and fear of isolation that adolescents feel, and seeing that others might feel the same way is a balm for the trauma that teen-agers experience. Whether that’s enough to make up for the impropriety of the films is hard to say—even criticizing them makes me feel like I’m divesting a generation of some of its fondest memories, or being ungrateful since they helped to establish my career. And yet embracing them entirely feels hypocritical. And yet, and yet…