Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: The Opening Scene - A Critical Response

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) Directed By John Hughes 

Ferris Bueller's Day Off directed by John Hughes is now considered a classic 1980s film, it includes classic Hughes themes 'the philosopher of adolescence, whose credits include "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club" and "Pretty In Pink." In all of his films, adults are strange, distant creatures who love their teenagers, but fail completely to understand them.' (Ebert 11/06/86).  Buellers Day Off uses the main character to speak directly to the audience this creates a kind of intimacy between the audience and Ferris as he gives his thoughts directly to use and make us feel we are with him throughout.  He takes us on the journey and this journey is a real ride.  A great day off school, a feel-good movie that makes me certainly wish I was young again!  

Also, it is a movie of its time, the 1980s, Adam Smith writes: 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off is, in fact, an unadulterated celebration of what it's like to be young white, middle class and well-heeled in mid 80s America.' (Smith 01/01/14).  Times certainly have changed but there is something interesting as we are treated to the idea that consumerism is great and how we did aspire to have the things that Ferris experiences through the day, posh car, the best restaurants.  

This is obviously a feelgood movie and all the kids are essentially alright which is why as a viewer we enjoy experiencing it, movies are an experience we feel with the characters, through the magic of editing, music diegetic and non-diegetic. 'John Hughes, the writer and director of "Ferris," was an obsessive music fan who cemented the legacies of several artists by building film scenes around their songs.' (Smokler 14/09/16).  

I saw this movie at the time and have seen it again later and I think it has stood the test of time well.  But perhaps I have a nostalgia for what I saw as a simpler age where mobile phones didn't exist computers did not connect to the internet and we did have a home phone and used it.  We went out with our friends and perhaps we were not so watched over (in many ways) as we are now.  Imagine no social media and then imagine the freedom that affords you...

In terms of what I really get out of this work in relation to my own is that it is the kind of thing that I would find incredibly difficult - something feelgood, happy, a little movie of joy... that is why I admire this as it has qualities that I would find incredibly difficult to emulate! The filming of the scene is very straightforward in terms of the shots used such as close up to the medium shot, shots of the TV, the Sky representing exactly what the character is saying.  The editing is fairly quick to keep this moving forward quickly and keeping the narrative flowing.  Again this makes us feel as if we are on the journey with the character.  As with all works the artist/media producer needs to find a connection with the audience and my overriding response is that this connection is very well executed here.  In my own artworks, I do find it challenging to find that connection and ensure that there is some universal meaning that will connect people to the work. 


Ebert R (11/06/86) Rogert Ebert Reviews: Ferris Bueller's Day Off [Online] Available From: (Accessed 11/11/20)

Smith A. (01/01/14) Ferris Bueller's Day Off Review [Online] Available From: (Accessed 11/11/20)

Smokler K (14/09/16) Secrets of the Ferris Bueller's Day Off Soundtrack [Online] Available From: (Accessed 11/11/20)


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