It's hard to believe that St. Elmo's fire is twenty years old. I can remember renting this film whilst I was still at school. Things have certainly changed since those days. Possibly the biggest 'brat-pack' ensemble film, St. Elmo's Fire catapulted Joel Schumacher into 'a director to watch' bracket. I have always quite liked Schumacher's films. Sure, Batman and Robin was dreadful and I personally can't stand his John Grisham films. I am however glad he is somewhat back on track making smaller films such as Phone Booth, because he can direct actors and have a nice visual style.
Seeing this film after all those years was quite a shock. All the leads look amazingly young. Looking at the cast, they all seemed set for mega stardom. However, the only real massive star out of them all was Demi Moore. Strange that seeing that 'Ghost' was the best film she ever made and in that film she shared the screen with Swayze and Goldberg. I think it's a real shame that some of the other cast members dwindled into TV movies and supporting roles because all seven main members of the cast are very capable performers. I personally always rated Rob Lowe as an actor. Some of his performances after St. Elmo's Fire were terrific especially 'Bad Influence' with James Spader. Andrew McCarthy is still responsible for the best 80's romantic comedy in my opinion (Mannequin) he will be forever in love with that dummy played by Kim Cattrall. Recently, he has starred in Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital. Rob Lowe has also graced some of King's work namely 'The Stand' and the brilliant new adaption of 'Salem's Lot'.
Seven friends have left college in Georgetown, Washington State. They are starting out their new life, but are still as close as they were in college. St. Elmo's Bar is where they hang out, putting the world to rights and generally being best buddies. Schumacher and Carl Kurlander's script crafts real human beings amongst the typical American stereotypes. We get to sympathise with their predicaments in life and feel real emotion when the world comes crashing down on their heads. The acting in the film still stands up today with some sympathetic performances on view. I personally have never been a fan of Demi Moore, but her performance as good time girl, Jules is great. McCarthy is great as sensitive guy, Kevin. Rounding out the rest of cast are Emilio Estevez, Lowe, Mare Winningham, Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson. It was also nice to see the late Martin Balsam in a small supporting role of Winningham's Greeting Card Mogul Dad and Andie MacDowell in the small role of a doctor.
So, I hear you ask does the film still stand up today as it did twenty years ago with problems facing young people. Well, the problems the seven friends face are just as reverent today as they were back in 1985.
Our Review Ethos