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13 Ways ‘Divergent’ Is Basically the Same as a John Hughes Teen Movie

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But instead of a dateless prom being the end of the world, it's just the end of the world.

This week, Divergent hits the cinemas as the newest YA book turned movie, hoping to win over The Hunger Games and Twilight demographic and all their shrieking millions. Shailene Woodley plays Tris Prior, a young girl in a futuristic Chicago where she has to yada, yada, yada. Let's be honest, Divergent’s going to be the new The Hunger Games, which was the new Twilight, which was the new She’s All That, which was the new Pretty in Pink. We could make a pretty extensive list because even with the post-apocalyptic backdrop and fight sequences, we’re still snacking on a sickly sweet teen coming-of-age-films John Hughes made in the '80s. Yeah, those were set in Chicago too. Here's all the ways they're basically the same.

Our Protagonist is a Misunderstood Outcast

Shailene Woodley’s Tris Prior is part of the gray-clad Abnegation faction, which is basically the nerdy do-gooder of her society. (although, her mascara-laden eyelashes say she's a secret sex vixen waiting to come out). She's the spiritual granddaughter of Andie Walsh, the misunderstood creative in Pretty in Pink.

She Will Go through a Makeover

We can accomplish this simply by shaking the hair loose and ditching the spectacles. She might do something crazy, like get a tattoo or tear up her mom's pink dress to make a really ugly pink prom outfit.

There Will Be a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits

None of these guys belong! They're all misunderstood rascals, and we love them for it.

We're Going to Fall for the Bad Boy

Let me introduce you to Four. He has a dark past and his eyes smolder when he talks. He might not be able to punch the air like John Bender at the end of The Breakfast Club, but he'll teach you how to punch bad guys in the kisser.

He's Not Just a Pretty Face

What’s that, Four? You don’t want to just be in one group? You want to be all of the factions? Sorry, your back tattoo was really distracting. Again, there's more emotional history to this guy, very much like Bender.

She Will Be Quirky Enough to Get His Attention

That Brooding Boy is very busy with his emotionally wrought problems, so the girl is going to have to do something obvious to get his attention. If you're Tris Prior, standing in front of a target during knife throwing practice is one way, but if you're trapped in detention in a library, putting lipstick on using your cleavage could also work.

She'll Also Have a Sexual Revolution

She's going to be an innocent who will experience her first kiss or her first time or her first encounter with the opposite sex. Either way, a first something will happen.

It Will Take Place in Middle America

Well, Ferris Bueller does live in the metro Chicago area, and Divergent does take place in a future Chicago. It's as Americana as we can get really.

One Character Will Destroy Her Self-Esteem

James Spader's 1980's spirit lives on in Miles Teller because we always need a good for nothing, antagonistic know-it-all to pick at our insecurities. It will be confusing because we'll have deep, hidden sexual feels for this asshole.

The Villain Will be an Adult

Maybe not as comical as Principal Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but Kate Winslet pulls a similar menacing dead eye. She also helps enforce the "adults are party poopers" vibe that Rooney always did.

She's Going to Question the Status Quo


The Breakfast Club finds a small sampling of the high school cliques with the nerd, the jock, the basket case, the princess, or the criminal, much like the societal factions in Divergent: Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, Amity, and Candor. In both these cases they try to destroy the cliques.

Grand Romantic Gesture

This is by assumption but if the world was ending and I kept making out with a guy all over the place as we battled society, I'd expect him to do something to show that he has the hots for me. It might not be a birthday cake like Jake Ryan's, but even deflecting a rogue dagger would do it. The smaller the gesture, the sweeter it is.

Big Choreographed Moments

Ferris Bueller's parade sequence, Ducky's store dance, and The Breakfast Club's library montage are just proof that John Hughes' high schools were truly a magical place. Seeing as there's no time for dancing in the very gritty future, we'll settle for highly choreographed tandem fight sequences. It may seem like a reach, but it is sort of like dancing, and nothing cements a John Hughes film better than an overt choreographed sequence with a memorable track.