Favorite Film Friday: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

By Isaac Mathewson
Written and directed by: John Hughes
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, and Jennifer Grey
Sometimes I come across a movie that just puts me in a good mood. Coming from someone who suffers from chronic depression, I loved this movie when I first saw it. It made me forget about my problems and it was a lot of fun to watch. Today, I consider it not only a great comedy, but somewhat of a suicide prevention film.
Ferris Bueller (Broderick) is a popular, wise guy high school senior who decides one spring day to fake being sick from school in order to take his best friend Cameron (Ruck) and his girlfriend Sloane (Sara) on a day out on the city of Chicago. They spend the day going to a baseball game, an art museum, and lip syncing at a parade (one of the most famous scenes in the movie), all the while, they keep Ferris’s parents in the dark, who along with the rest of the town think that he is actually sick and have set up a “Save Ferris” campaign. There are only two people who suspect anything; Ferris’s principal Ed Rooney, played by Jeffrey Jones, who serves as the main antagonist, and Ferris’s sister Jeanie (Grey) who is immensely jealous of her brother’s popularity and the attention that he receives from his parents.
The film was directed and written by the late John Hughes, who is famous for classic works such as The Breakfast Club and Home Alone.Often times his movies balance both comedy and drama effectively. That is to say, his movies are generally comedies with dramatic moments to provide a theme for the movie. This film is no exception.
It does play as a playful comedy most of the time, but there are also moments in the film that actually make you think. Throughout the course of the film, Ferris tries desperately to make his depressed friend Cameron get up and enjoy life. There is a famous quote said by Ferris in the film that sums up the film’s message. He says; “Life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris, or rather Hughes, is not telling us to ditch school and education for the sake of fun, he is saying that everyone needs to take a break once in a while and just enjoy life for what it is.
Scenes like this turn a mere entertainment film into a classic film with a philosophical message. However, that is obviously not the only reason to enjoy this film. It is just great fun. You laugh the whole time and by the end you feel like you know the characters and have spent the day off with them.
What makes the film stand out the most is the main character himself. Matthew Broderick, although 23 when he starred in this, is very convincing as a wise guy kid with a great charm in his character. He is the film really and not just because his name is in the title. He also has that sweet, recognizable voice that makes him very innocent.
All of the other characters are good too. Ruck is very likable and funny and Sara is very attractive and has a great personality. The principal is also funny in how he will go to ridiculous lengths to stop Ferris from “corrupting his students,” and in the end he gets his comeuppance. Grey is also very good as the sister who is immensely jealous of her brother. Even some of the minor characters such as Ferris’s parents or Charlie Sheen as the criminal that Jeanie meets at a police station are memorable and a ton of fun to watch.
While the soundtrack is mediocre and outdated, and some of the actors look far too old for their role (Ruck was 29 when he did this film and he was playing an 18 year old), this film has so much to treasure. It is funny, smart, and a lot of fun. It is one of those films that just leaves you in a good mood after seeing it, like you were with Ferris and his friends the whole time. The film to this day remains a coming-of-age classic, as well as arguably John Hughes’s best work.

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