John Hughes's Genius

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Regarding the Aug. 7 obituary of director, producer and screenwriter John Hughes [" '80s Filmmaker Captured Soul of Teen Torment and Mundanity"]:

Many have commented that Mr. Hughes's genius was his ability to capture the reality of teen life, rather than the innocent fantasy indulgences of Hollywood. Yet his true skill was to recognize and honor the role of fantasy in teen life.

Suburban teen life, spent mostly in school, is so dull that it generates misery in the form of petty dramas and arbitrary cruelty. Hughes's teens, like so many real teens, use fantasy to escape this social drudgery. As a result, the most inspiring moments of his films are perhaps the most surreal: Boys dancing in unison across the table in detention during "The Breakfast Club"; Ferris Bueller lip-syncing Chicago to its feet.

These were the movie moments that gave us chills. And, when we were teens, they gave us hope, too.

SAM GILL

Washington


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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