Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Class: Movie Review

A little heavy-handed, but with genuine emotion and a few shining stars.
The Class is a remake of The Breakfast Club, a 1980s classic which I watched as a teenager and I was looking forward to a modern re-telling of a group of six high-schoolers who are all different but learn how their differences can help one another and open up to new friendships. It sounds a bit hokey written out like that, and yes, it definitely is at times, this one arguably more so than the original.   2022

Directed by: Nicholas Celozzi

Screenplay by: Nicholas Celozzi

Starring: Debbie Gibson, Anthony Michael Hall, Chalie Gillespie and Lyric Ross

The new cast could potentially rise to the ranks of the former brat pack, especially Charlie Gillespie as Jason the class clown, Lyric Ross as Casey the outspoken rebel, Hannah Kepple as Jesse the talented one with a secret and Colin McCalla as Max the jock with a secret. I’m assuming most of the target audience will be brought here by Charlie Gillespie from Julie and the Phantoms, and it’s easy to highlight what he brings to the class. He likes going shirtless, showing off his sense of humour, and being the kid who will gladly put attention on himself to take it off of someone else. Jason has a heart beneath his wavy hair and boyish smile, but he doesn’t want everyone to know that.

The Class gets dark and heavy quickly. For a coming-of-age dramedy, the film throws in some tortured individuals and a lot of abuse early. It’s a nod to how this current generation is experiencing the tragedies of life with no real escape from the news, but it feels heavy-handed. The character of Michael never has a chance to grow on people before he starts dropping random bombs (metaphorically speaking). Jason and Max on the other hand get to slowly reveal their complicated personal lives throughout the course of the movie, and that approach is more fitting with the theme. Strangers at 8 am who have so slowly, almost imperceptibly, grown close by 5 pm.

The goal of the movie is the same as the original: everybody will feel connected to at least one character all of whom have found new friends in unexpected places. However, the plot is different. It’s no longer a simple Saturday detention where the kids form new connections on their own. This time, it’s a group of kids failing drama class so their teacher (Debbie Gibson) has concocted an assignment for them – an assignment that’s literally about opening up and being honest.

The roadmap to the movie is right there in the class assignment, which is about as heavy-handed as you can get. However, the teenagers get their moments to shine, the emotion by the end is genuine, the new soundtrack is just as fitting as the original, and the call-backs including Anthony Michael Hall as the gruff principal and John Kapelos as Jason’s father are excellent casting additions that should be well appreciated by the older audience members.

Available to rent on iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon, etc.

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