A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sixteen Candles is John Hughes' hilarious '80s high school comedy that has both sharply observed moments and now-dated stereotypes. Although it's rated PG (it was released before the PG-13 option existed), this is an adult comedy with teen characters. The teens drink, have sex, and talk about birth control; in one scene, it's implied that a guy had sex with a girl while she was passed-out drunk. Parents may want to exercise caution with more impressionable kids, and especially preteens or younger. But this smart exploration of adolescent life will be fun for teens and adults.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In SIXTEEN CANDLES, Sam (Molly Ringwald) is turning 16, but her family has forgotten her birthday because of her sister's impending wedding. At school, Sam has a crush on a senior, Jake, who might not know she's alive. Fortunately for Sam, Jake is tiring of his prom-queen girlfriend. With help from a freshman super-geek (Anthony Michael Hall), Jake sets his sights on Sam, but will he find her amidst her sister's wedding chaos to fulfill her birthday wish?
Is it any good?
This '80s film is a hair-raising tour of adolescence. Sam is a girl in the throes of her first crush, and she's desperately insecure about her body. A sublimely awkward dork dogs her heels, alternately yearning for approval and crassly propositioning her. She's infatuated with a senior god and intimidated by his goddess girlfriend.
Sixteen Candles doesn't raise profound issues or craft scenes of special beauty. However, this is John Hughes at his best; he captures the nuances of adolescent slang and recreates the little humiliations that can make teen life a living hell. It's all in the details: When Sam's grandmother checks out Sam's "perky boobies" with a squeeze, you'll wonder how anyone gets through high school.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: January 1, 1984
- On DVD or streaming: January 19, 1999
- Cast: Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling, Molly Ringwald
- Director: John Hughes
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: April 9, 2020
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