• Daniel Rae

Ferris Bueller's Day Off Review

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off", Paramount Pictures, 1986

John Hughes' widely-acclaimed comedy is as comfortably 80s as it gets. It's delicate naivety continues to offer something for all in the warm and understated way in which it celebrates the film's titular character and his freedom of youth, sprinkled with a lumpy mix of iconic moments and dark pockets of insecurity that the story's blissfulness tries its best to ignore. In other words,"Ferris Bueller's Day Off', above all, provides an idealised relatable lens into the world of quirky situations that highlights the rose of its rose-tinted glasses - surprisingly more so than the rest of the director's nostalgia-fuelled catalogue.

Ferris is always able to get away with it, the film's kicker that is enabled through its simple presentation that, even in its darkest moments, remains light on the eyes. In typically-lightly-airbrushed 80s fashion, there is always a naturalness to its weird and wonderful situations. This pairs perfectly with the understated charisma of Matthew Broderick, who carries the dry silly awkwardness of the comedy almost lazily, as well as the fluid dynamic between the characters that helps craft the 'Not looking to leave much of an impression' kind of feeling. Any ounce of seriousness that runs between Ferris' 4th wall breaks is only to either move the plot along from it's brilliantly directed back-and-forths the screenplay likes to spend its time on or to examine the other puzzle pieces Hughes likes to throw in for attention-payers. Cameron and his dad's Ferrari, the Art Museum Scene, the Dance Scene: all these different entities with their entirely separate tone and style manage to co-exist harmoniously without disrupting the breezy flow of the pace.

Nevertheless, whilst the occasional jab at the idea of needing to grow up and find purpose in something more meaningful than just what feels right does break the bouncy mood, the same seriousness towards life shown through the likes of Ed and Jeanine reveals the miraculous method behind the madness of ignorant bliss that manages to triumph. This is an indecisive stance on the director's part that reminds the audience of the happy middle-ground we should take towards life, an idea which, at a second glance, is somewhat of a cop-out given the time we spend with the existential Cameron. As nice as it would have been to explore the fallacies of its liberal attitudes which it has the talent and the platform to poke fun at, it may have veered off towards a more self-serious direction, taking away from the personal quirk of the film's individual details that rub off from Ferris himself.

Overall, whilst not having that bite of a 'Breakfast Club' or the focus of a 'Sixteen Candles', 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' instead stands it's ground through its warm-hearted comedy that manages to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience, despite how tired some of its tropes may seem. What else could be said for a film which, at its essence, is simply looking for a good time?


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