Molly Ringwald on John Hughes

What Women Really Think
Aug. 12 2009 3:39 PM

Molly Ringwald on John Hughes

/blogs/xx_factor/2009/08/12/molly_ringwald_bids_farewell_to_john_hughes/jcr:content/body/slate_image

Molly Ringwald's heartfelt farewell to John Hughes in the New York Times today makes a good companion piece to the blog post " Sincerely, John Hughes " that we wrote about last week . Whereas Alison Byrne Fields was a teenager who loved Hughes from afar, Ringwald was a teenager who loved him up close.

Advertisement

Unsurprisingly, given their intimacy, Ringwald's memories have a darker, more nuanced cast than Fields'. She describes Hughes, the director who "catapulted [her] from obscurity and planted [her] in the American consciousness," as a kind of Peter Pan who refused to grow up-and who resented her when she decided to. Ringwald hadn't spoken to Hughes for more than 20 years when he died; their relationship soured when she decided to work with other directors. "I wanted to grow up," she writes, "something I felt (rightly or wrongly) I couldn’t do while working with John."

Luckily, the two had a moment of reconciliation (thanks to François Truffaut, natch), though I can't help but be saddened by the thought that the two didn't stay friends. (She did, however, stay close with Anthony Michael Hall, which is a big relief.)

The whole thing is worth reading, but here's a taste:

Most everyone knows that John retreated from Hollywood and became a sort of J.D. Salinger for Generation X. But really, sometime before then, he had retreated from us and from the kinds of movies that he had made with us. I still believe that the Hughes films of which both [Anthony Michael Hall] and I were a part (specifically "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club") were the most deeply personal expressions of John’s. In retrospect, I feel that we were sort of avatars for him, acting out the different parts of his life-improving upon it, perhaps. In those movies, he always got the last word. He always got the girl.
None of the films that he made subsequently had the same kind of personal feeling to me. They were funny, yes, wildly successful, to be sure, but I recognized very little of the John I knew in them, of his youthful, urgent, unmistakable vulnerability. It was like his heart had closed, or at least was no longer open for public view. A darker spin can be gleaned from the words John put into the mouth of Allison in "The Breakfast Club": "When you grow up ... your heart dies."
Photograph of Molly Ringwald by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.