Top 100 Films. 93. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Bueller…. Bueller…. Bueller. The quintessential 80’s teen comedy about a popular kid taking a day off from school to become a town hero.

Ferris Bueller is a typical high school teen that decides to take a day off to enjoy the sun and takes girlfriend, Sloane and friend Cameron on the ride with him. The headteacher, Rooney, finds out about Bueller’s bunking off school and decides to try and catch him out.

A simple premise that has turned out to be one of the most beloved teen comedies of the 80’s. A John Hughes classic that is full of laughs, wonderment and teens being up to no good. Bueller is a character that immediately interacts with the audience by breaking the fourth wall and speaks to the viewer on how to trick your parents into thinking you are ill. From that point on you are invited, just like Cameron and Sloane, on this wild trip with Ferris Bueller and what a wonderful and amazing trip it is.

From driving Ferrari’s to singing in the street with a whole city ensemble singing along, the whole film tracks the manic day that as time passes, moves on to increasingly exaggerated lunacy. The jealousy one feels as they wanted a day like Ferris’ to go so completely right that I knew if I attempted a similar action that I would be caught as soon as my foot left the door. This film is fun and every time I watch it, you get a classic John Hughes feeling of childhood nostalgia. The 80’s teen films are all about liberation and rebelling and as I grow older you long for those days even more. For this one moment you are allowed to join Ferris et al on a wild ride throughout Chicago.

Where this film diverts from the typical teen fare is that it is no just about Ferris’ day of enjoyment but Cameron’s struggle against a restrictive father. The breaking free from the chains of adulthood is beautifully told through the character of Cameron, ironically played by a 30 year old actor. This film has one of my favourite scenes in cinema. The scene is question is the art gallery scene where the whole gang looks at paintings and a cover of The Smiths ‘Please let me get what I want’ plays in the background. The tone of the scene is quite melodic  and the final shot of Cameron staring at a painting as he focuses on a child face and it zooms in from detailed face to mere paint. There are many interpretations to this scene and this mini review will not go into that, thats for another day but this scene resonates a lot.Whatever Cameron is feeling anyone in the audience can transfer their emotions to this scene as he stares blankly into this child’s face. It is poetic.

Ferris Bueller is a great comedy that is a complete joy to watch and a fantastic time capsule for anyone that wants to understand 80’s teen cinema. John Hughes was a master of his craft and this is one of the films that demonstrates this. It is a film on the outside full of laughs and enjoyment but underneath a story is told of the constant struggle of teenagers trying to break free from their parents, teachers and anyone that restricts them. The hidden emotional undertones mixed with the fun of having a day off in Chicago creates a film that is a must watch for anyone.

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