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Film / Pretty in Pink

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A 1986 romantic teen dramedy film written by John Hughes and marks the directorial debut of Howard Deutch.

Molly Ringwald stars as Andie Walsh, a teenager with a crush on an upper-class boy, Blaine McDonough (Andrew McCarthy). When he turns out to reciprocate her feelings and they pursue a relationship, their respective social circles show some resistance.

Andie lives on the Wrong Side of the Tracks with her unemployed, divorced father (played by Harry Dean Stanton), for whom she cares almost as a mother would. Her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) is in love with her, but plays it off as a joke to maintain their friendship. The two of them are harrassed by the "richie" kids, Steff (James Spader), and Benny (Kate Vernon). Andie works for her older friend Iona (Annie Potts) at TRAX, a New Wave music store in Chinatown. Iona urges her to go to the prom.

One of the Brat Pack movies. Hughes and Deutch would collaborate again the following year on Some Kind of Wonderful, which is in many ways a Gender Flipped version of the same story.

This film provides examples of:

  • '80s Hair: Kristy Swanson's character sports a big puffy Dynasty-style 'do in her brief scene near the end. All the girls in gym class have sprayed and teased do's, and Andie herself, while her hair is shorter, has to artfully feather and spray.
  • Actor Allusion: Annie Potts' character answers the phone at the record store, "TRAX, what do you want?" similar to how she did in Ghostbusters (1984).
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Andie's unemployed father is too immersed in his grief over his divorce to be much of a father to her.
    • The well-meaning gym teacher just makes things worse when she tries to punish the rich bitches bullying Andie. She also doesn't seem to notice Andie's friend smoking in the gym; likewise, Steff openly smokes in the school hallway and no one seems to notice or care.
    • Steff's parents seem to be entirely absent, and he seems to be rebelling by trashing the house without consequence. And Steff mentions Blaine's parents, alluding to the possibility they might be abusive.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall : When he meets "Duckette," Ducky looks directly at the camera for a moment, as if to say "You see her too, right?" It's brief, but it looks deliberate.
  • Camp Straight: Ducky dresses as extravagantly as Andie.
  • Color Motifs: Pink, right down to the name; this even extends to A&M Records' release of the soundtrack, LP copies of which featured a pink gradient on the label instead of the typical silver.
  • Cringe Comedy: Much of the drama involving Ducky's unrequited affection steers eerily close to this.
  • Extreme Doormat: Seems to be Blaine's biggest problem when it comes to his friends and his relationships. Nicely averted at the end.
  • Fiery Redhead: Andie who has no problem standing up for herself.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Outsider Andie is surprised that popular Blaine would be interested in her.
  • Improbable Age : Ilona keeps saying she's old enough to be the younger cast's mother, but there's about a 15 year age difference. Of course, given it's Annie Potts, she doesn't look much older than her co-stars, and was 34 when the film was released.
  • Informed Ability: Andie's sewing skills and fashion sense. Come on, that prom dress is hideous! And the fuchsia tights and baby pink shoes...Even in The '80s that was a fashion "don't."
    • Every outfit is terrible. She dresses like an old lady's couch.
  • Informed Poverty: Andie is stated to be poor, but lives in a nice house and even has her own (pink!) car. Of course, both are quite shabby compared to the mansions and expensive sports cars the other students have.
  • Lipstick-and-Load Montage: Andie in the opening credits.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Pretty much everyone in Blaine's circle of friends, especially Steff.
  • Manly Tears: Blaine cries a few.
  • Missing Mom: Andie's mom left her dad some time prior to the start of the film.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the soundtrack's songs, "Shellshock" by New Order, reprises the melody and structure of their earlier single "Confusion"; the re-recording of "Confusion" included on the band's 1987 compilation Substance would in turn borrow sonic elements from "Shellshock".
  • Parental Substitute: Iona serves as a friendly yet maternal figure to Andie, especially since the girl's father is depressed and not at all there and her mother left.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: At the prom, Andie wears a pink dress and Ducky wears a blue suit.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Andie's trademark prom dress.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Blaine cancels his prom date with Andie, saying that he already asked someone else and forgot about it, she calls him a "filthy, fucking, no-good liar". This is the only time the word is used in the film.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: The film ends with Andie and Blaine making out in the parking lot.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Ducky, who is even told off by the bouncer at the club that won't let him in.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Andie's rebellious friend Jena shows up in a few scenes early in the film (including a memorable bit of snark and attitude in a gym class scene) but vanishes without a trace half way through leaving Andie with just Iona as a female confidante.
  • Wondrous Ladies Room: After being shoved into the girls bathroom, Duckie goes on about how the girls have a "candy machine" and doors on the stalls in their bathroom, some things that the boys lack in their bathroom.