Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: A Story of Escape in a Time of Uncertainty

In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (John Hughes, 1986) high school senior Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) and his two best friends Cameron (Alan Ruck) and Sloane (Mia Sara), skip school by outmaneuvering their parents and their ferrisuptight principal Mr. Rooney. The trio cruises around Chicago in Cameron’s father’s Ferrari, participates in a float parade, and trespass on private property while disregarding all possible consequences. As his friend Cameron states, everything is easy for Ferris. He is confident, charming, and seems capable of pulling anything off. All of his peers think highly
of him, his parents think he is the perfect son, and he seems to excel in all aspects of his life. He outsmarts his principal and his parents by beating them both home, and leaves Mr. Rooney no real proof that he wasn’t home sick all day.  Although Ferris is the protagonist, he is not like most teens watching the movie.  Most teenagers have self esteems issues, general worries, and reservations about consequences, like Cameron. 

Furthermore, the innocuous day of playing hooky brings forth many issues that teenagers face such as problems with parents, uncertainty about their future, and not knowing what will become of their friendships after graduation. Interestingly enough, Ferris addresses these issues solely to the camera and doesn’t discuss these matters with Sloane or Cameron. This implies his easygoing attitude and lack of concern is a facade covering up his anxieties about his future, and his persona is a cultivated method to deal with his fears.
Thesis: Although Ferris is an enviable, larger-than-life protagonist, the role of Cameron and all his anxieties, flaws, and troubled relationships is what makes this film accessible to teens. However, his ability to change his mindset and stand up for himself makes him the unlikely hero of this teen movie.

Topic Sentence #1: John Hughes uses Freudian principles when paralleling Ferris, an id-driven individual, with his best friend Cameron, who is overrun by his superego.

  • Ferris doesn’t think about consequences
  • Cameron “can’t think of anything good to do”
  • Ferris has Sloane, Cameron is single.

Topic Sentence #2: Ferris is a larger-than-life protagonist, and his selfish motivations make him an entertaining, cartoon-like character, but lacking of true depth or change.

Possible counter: willing to take the blame for Cameron and risk everything

  • living a lie with his parents
  • refuses to face his anxieties
  • will have to keep up his charade

Topic Sentence #3: Cameron’s decision to stand up to his father not only empowers him as an individual, but enables him to become the hero of the film.

  • No longer has to stay silent, will gain respect
  • Changes his entire attitude
  • Climax of the movie: car rolling out of the garage



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