Column: Notable Natalie

NOTE: The meaning of ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’


I don’t remember the first time I watched “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” but it has always been one of my favorite movies. As a kid, I didn’t see the more profound meaning of the film. Specifically characters like Cameron Frye, Ferris Bueller’s anxiety-ridden and uptight friend. While Ferris is loud and confident and seems like he could figure out anything in life, Cameron is stuck in not only regular issues that high schoolers might face but also mental abuse and neglect from his family. We don’t see Cameron’s issues centered until the art museum scene where he stares into the painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by George Seurat. As Cameron looks deeper at the painting and as the camera pans closer to part of the child’s face, Cameron almost fears the painting of the child. The closer he looks the more the face is becoming indiscernible. “The more he looks at it, there’s nothing there. He fears that the more you look at him, the less you see,” director John Hughes has commented.

Cameron contrasts Ferris and Sloane in this way as in this scene they are together and seem to be enjoying their time. Cameron is an outsider to people in his life. He stands out in the streets of Chicago wearing a Detroit Red Wings jersey. He is also in complete pain contemplating his life while his friends are kissing. This outsider feeling displayed by Cameron can probably be felt by many teenagers. Even though Cameron does feel alone, Hughes portrays his character as being able to escape this feeling. It tells teens that you won’t always feel like an outsider or trapped.

Hughes does this by showing that Cameron was going to stand up to his dad about completely destroying the red Ferrari, but he also stripped off the Red Wings jersey that set him apart from the crowd to dawn a regular brown shirt. It feels like you could see yourself in Cameron. And while it’s a feel good film, it also allows you to see the gut wrenching pain that Cameron has to go through. This is why the movie is not only amazing but also so important to me.

People who are seen as uptight and anxious are given a voice and allows them to have fun and free themselves from their own minds, and in Cameron’s perspective, his father’s control. “I realized it was ridiculous, being afraid, worrying about everything, wishing I was dead, all that shit, I’m tired of it. This is the best day of my life,” said Cameron Frye.

While this movie makes you want to skip school and go to Chicago with friends, it also allows you to see the pain and sadness that life can bring. I wish I had this same experience of skipping school and having my whole life and mentality change, but sadly I did not. Instead of participating in senior skip day, I sat in my classes and wished that I could be in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”