Ferris Bueller is every girl’s dream and every father’s worst nightmare. He is charming, enigmatic and a bad boy with a nice face.
The film traces his adventures through one day in 80’s America as he skips school with his best friend Cameron and girlfriend, Sloane. However, unlike most teenagers who use sick days as an excuse to catch up on trashy TV and eat ice-cream, Ferris Bueller and his friends are different. They steal a car and drive through Chicago visiting art museums and upscale restaurants, avoiding detection by their hilariously evil headmaster, Mr Jones. That said the film is not all fun and games; it contains deep insights into adolescence and what it means to grow up and have your life move faster than you ever anticipated. It captures the struggle of teenagers leaving school who are suddenly faced with the terrifying reality that everything is about to change. We see the impact of this drastic life change on long held relationships in the constant shadow over Ferris’s and Sloane’s relationship as they are both aware that Ferris will soon move away to college.
However the film allows itself to remain light hearted and fun by leaning on Ferris Bueller’s carefree spirit. He provides endless entertainment in the film with one line zingers which will live in film history forever (my favourite of which is when the snooty waiter has to let Ferris and his friends into the restaurant and Ferris hilariously and completely sincerely says ‘it is understanding which enables people like us to tolerate people like you.’) He often effortlessly breaks the fourth wall when telling the audience his opinion on a situation, but instead of seeming forced and false it is actually a welcoming presence as he brings himself into the audience’s world.
This conversation he has with us reveals a lot about his character and so we come to like and care about him. The moments when he is almost caught by various authoritative figures therefore provide excitement for the audience as we are emotionally invested and so don’t want to see him get into trouble. He is also extremely innovative and clever and so when Ferris is designing his room to ensure he will not get caught the film takes on a charming spy gadget quality reminiscent of Home Alone when the young boy is hooking up his house with booby traps to deter the robbers.
The supporting cast is also invaluable to the comedy of the film, as characters like the bitter sister Jeanie and clueless parents provide variety and small snapshots of their lives which are easily missed but very funny. A good example of this is when we see Ferris’s serious father dance around his office when the parade goes past. The costumes are perfectly 80’s with berets and leather jackets galore and so when watching the film we get sucked back 40 years and into America at this time.
Lastly the soundtrack of the film injects a playful sense of freedom into the film, for instance I dare you not to smile when watching Ferris dance and sing to ‘Twist and Shout’ by the Beatles. But it also provides beautifully haunting snapshots of three teenagers who know that this is one of their last chances to be carefree because they know that …