Tell me if I’m wrong, but if there’s one character I would love to emulate in every way, its Andie Walsh: she’s a strong, confident woman, she knows exactly who she is, she doesn’t care about what other people think and she can effortlessly pull off any outfit!
In the cult 1980s film Pretty In Pink, Molly Ringwald plays outsider Andie Walsh who struggles with her life as a working class girl in an upper class high school. She rises above the comments she receives from the popular crowd, loves creating her own outfits and hangs around with her friend Duckie played by Jon Cryer. At home she’s looking after her father who is struggling to cope after his divorce from Andie’s mother. When Andie’s first crush, rich-kid Blane walks into the picture, a Romeo and Juliet love story begins; but will their difference in social background threaten their relationship?
The characters are well-rounded and have great depth, even down to Duckie’s dancing and lip syncing to the unmissable Try A Little Tenderness, as he attempts to deal with his unconditional love for Andie, who sees him as no more than a friend. It’s the realistic and heart achingly honest dialogue that creates the dramatic moments in the film, all credit to writer John Hughes who has penned (and often directed) other cult classics of the 1980s such as The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off also being shown as part of FACT’s 80s Brat Pack Season.
So many films have attempted and in the process butchered the ‘we’re in love but we’re from two completely different worlds’ scenario but Pretty in Pink rescues and redeems it. Andrew McCarthy plays Blane with a loveable nervousness and likeable charm but it’s Molly Ringwald who undoubtedly shines here. Her calculated stares into the abyss of soulless, brainless high school girls are so effective, and the way she conveys an air of intelligence and confidence about Andie, that not only makes her intimidating but more attractive to Blane. It so refreshing to see a strong female lead in a teen comedy and when Andie is asked why she’s going to prom without a date, she replies, ‘I just want to let them know that they didn’t break me.’
Pretty in Pink is the Mean Girls of its time. It’s witty, intelligent and heartfelt. So to anyone who feels (like we all do) like they’re an outsider, or different, or misunderstood, I think you’re going to find a very good friend in Andie Walsh.
Click here to book tickets for Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Breakfast Club.