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Written by Kevin Zade
I have never been more happy watching a movie in the dark. It was Saturday night the beers were flowing. There in the dark, watching THEE classic 80's coming of age tale "Sixteen Candles", I sat holding back tears.
Molly Ringwald plays Samantha Baker, a young girl who turns 16 as the film opens. Samantha's family is caught up in the frenzy of her older sister's wedding. Amidst the wedding craze, the family forgets Sam's birthday. This movie is a complete capture of what high school may have been like. The characters are caricatures of the essential high school crowd. There is Jake the High school senior. He is attractive, athletic and dating the most popular girl in school. He is the object of Samantha's pining. There is also Long Duk Dong; a foreign exchange student whose purpose is to elicit laughs from characters like Farmer Ted and his crew, who fit the freshman geek stereotype to a T. If you think of any other classic category I've forgotten, trust me when I say it's in this movie somewhere.
It wasn't the hilarious jokes in this comedy that had my eyes watering. In fact, as a comedy in 2017, more than 30 years after it's initial release, the humor doesn't hold up. It seems fairly trite and kind of "rapey." It wasn't the humor that touched me (no pun intended). It was Molly Ringwalds portrayal of a young girl who felt invisible. It was her performance that brought out in me a fear of going through the motions with my own daughters. It was the longing in her eyes. The longing to be seen. Amidst all the cliche and raunch that this brought, I couldn't focus on anything except the vulnerability that a very young Molly Ringwald was willing to share with us.
I don't know if I could really recommend this to people as a comedy or as a coming of age tale or really anything at all. As my friends were laughing beside me watching the madness ensue, I was getting lost in the story of a person who wanted only to be noticed. Meanwhile I was glad to not have my moistened eyes noticed at all.
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