The is one of two reviews of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in what we’re calling our Battling Buellers posts in anticipation of this Wednesday’s re-release in Ocean City.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”. These were the words to live by after you saw Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for the first time. Directed by John Hughes, who made other classics like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, the film is fun and charming for audiences of all ages. While it seems like a typical comedy about a group of teens cutting class to have fun, there is a lot more to it than that. The film deals with several emotional and social issues that are common amongst teens, like depression and the inability to communicate with adults. Like Hughes’ other films, it has cemented itself among other classics that have come to define generations of young adults, having the ability to incite laughter, sadness, awe, and a whole range of other emotions.
Matthew Broderick stars as the titular Ferris Bueller, a high school senior known for his carefree, no rules attitude. Everyone adores him at his school, except for his jealous, conniving sister Jeannie and his by-the-book principle Ed Rooney. The film revolves around Ferris waking up one morning and deciding to ditch school for the day, bringing his best friend Cameron and girlfriend Sloane with him. For the rest of the day, they get into all sorts of shenanigans like stealing Cameron’s father’s prized Ferrari, eating dinner at a fancy restaurant while posing as the “Sausage King of Chicago”, visiting the Art Institute and the Sears Tower, and finally lip-syncing his way into audiences’ hearts with a rendition of The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” in a parade. All the while with Rooney and Jeannie hot on their trail to catch Ferris in the act.
While the film maintains a charming, comical atmosphere for the majority of the time, there are some deeper personal issues it deals with as well. Cameron’s emotional state, for example, is a main motivational point for Ferris. It’s made clear throughout the movie that Cameron’s parents are essentially nonexistent in his life and they do not have a good relationship. At several points, Cameron even points out how his father cherishes his car more than he does for his wife and son. The uncertainties of love and marriage are persistent not just for Cameron, but for Ferris as well. By the end of the film, the audience knows that this day off wasn’t just for Ferris to have fun. It was an outlet for Cameron to express himself and take a little joy in life as well. The ending is hopeful for Cameron, though. Through a series of misfortunes, the Ferrari ends up getting destroyed and Cameron stands up to take the blame, saying he and his father will “have a little chat” when he gets home.
The film may not be popular with all audiences, but it’s important to remember that it’s not just another teen comedy movie. Like all of Hughes’ films, there are certainly some serious undertones that make his characters so well rounded and uniquely loveable. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we have all imagined what it would be like to take a day off like Ferris did, or that we relate to Jeannie and her jealousy of her brother’s easygoing nature. I think that the reason Hughes’ films have remained such cultural icons today is because they have the ability to speak to teens and relate to their problems in a way that other films could never do. From generation to generation, his films have spoken to audiences everywhere, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off speaks louder than most people ever thought it could.