Pretty in Pink Through Older Eyes
by Perfect Coven authors
This was originally posted to Tumblr, but that is the wrong forum. So, since I started this blog for miscellaneous ramblings, I think here is where this post belongs.
I watched Pretty in Pink with Der Mann last night. He’d never seen it and it was his night to choose a movie, and this was his choice.
Um, yeah. It’s an entirely different movie when seen through 46-year-old eyes.
Most of my issues are with the main character, Andi (Molly Ringwald); she says she values honesty above all things, yet she is never honest with Duckie (Jon Cryer’s character). He is so painfully, obviously in love with her, and she counts on that. Duckie will always be there, so she can do whatever she wants, because her back-up plan is solidly in place. She never tells him she doesn’t love him the way he loves her; she never tells him she’s sorry for treating him like, well, like her back-up plan. In fact, Andrew Dice Clay’s character said, “She keeps coming to this club, knowing you can’t get in. Why would she do that?” Andi does, and never apologizes for it. She does what she pleases, because she knows he’ll be outside, waiting, when she decides she has time for him. Andi never appreciates or acknowledges the fact that Duckie doesn’t tell her, “I told you so,” when Blaine dumps her before prom. In fact, Duckie comes through for her one last time, showing up to be her date at prom so she doesn’t have to walk in there alone*, and she dumps him again, for the same guy that will just leave her (again) in three months to go off to a college she can’t hope to attend. Duckie is supposedly her best friend, but he’s disposable to her, as are most people that she sees as holding her back (which is pretty much everyone).
Andi wants to be one of the rich kids. She spends most of the movie sucking up to them, desperate to be part of their set. When seen as a teenager, the school scenes look like Andi trying to be the bigger person, not stooping to be petty like the rich girls. Seen as an older person, it looks like what it is; an attempt to climb the social ladder by showing that she’ll take their abuse, even participate in her own humiliation, for even a pretense of acceptance.
The love interest, Blaine (Andrew McCarthy’s character); so weak, so spoiled, and so dumb. Steff (James Spader’s character) nailed it when he told Blaine that he just wanted to feel a little rebellious by messing around with someone from “there” and that it wouldn’t last. Blaine doesn’t realize it, but Steff is right. Blaine is led by Steff, by all his friends; he doesn’t see how shallow they are, how shallow he is, until the end. Even then, he won’t stand up and be with Andi to be with Andi. They leave so that no one will have to see them together and Blaine won’t have to stand up and proclaim his choice. And is it really a choice, when it’s going to be three months – the summer – at most? Then he’ll go to an Ivy League school, leaving Andi to go wherever her scholarship will take her, and it won’t be Harvard.
Andi’s father (Harry Dean Stanton’s character); the man is clinically depressed. To be fair, in the 80s, we were only beginning to understand the facts of clinical depression. However, it’s obvious in the movie that Andi’s father doesn’t need her whining and railing at him, because she thinks he should be rich so she can fit in where she desperately wants to, with Blaine and his friends. No, he needs help, and she’s too self-absorbed to care. She just blames him for not being rich enough to put her where she wants to be.
Duckie is probably the only character I still like, as an older viewer. He is Duckie, and doesn’t apologize for it, though he should have told Andi to jump off a cliff far sooner than he did. And she should have chosen Duckie at the end, not Blaine.
My verdict: the movie still resonates, though in a much different way, so it holds up. Also, the soundtrack is still amazing.
*I’ve always wondered if it was Andi’s father or Iona (the record store owner) that called Duckie and told him Andi was going to prom alone, so he could be there to meet her. What do you think?