Pretty in Pink (1986) Directed by Howard Deutch. With Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer, James Spader, Annie Potts and Harry Dean Stanton.
Pretty in Pink might not be the most iconic reverberation of the 1980’s, but you’ll struggle to find a film that defines many aspects of the era any better than this teen, high school drama-comedy by the director-writer team of Howard Deutch and John Hughes.
What’s surprising about the film, is that there’s a lot more heart on display than was perhaps evident in much of the brat-pack output of the decade. Molly Ringwald stars as Andie, a mature and level headed young girl from a poor home – she even makes her own clothes. Andie lives with her loving father (Harry Dean Stanton), and the film centres on the fine balance of her various relationships with friends, family and troubles with bullies.
Aside from the eye-catching fashions of the period, and a great soundtrack, the film has much in it’s favour. For starters, Ringwald is really good in her starring role. Her character is very sympathetically drawn, giving the audience plenty of motivation to root for her when it really matters. Similarly, Jon Cryer, so annoying a year later in Superman IV, brings a lot of fun to his role as Andie’s loyal best friend, Duckie. Additionally, I can’t resist a mention for the delightful Annie Potts, who in her role as a record store manager, even manages to sneak in the same unique telephone greeting she used in Ghostbusters.
I’m not overly fond of using the word cute, but with a look and tone that perfectly frames the era it’s from – it’s hard not to attribute it to Pretty in Pink. Ringwald is a sweetheart, and her character serves as a positive role model. It’s easy for adults to sneer at teenage love, but we can’t deny we’ve all been there. In chick-flick terms, it might not have the front page status of say, Dirty Dancing, but it is an equally successful guilty pleasure. 3.5/5