I saw a lot of myself in the character of Cameron Frye. Still do. At least I admit it. I saw a lot of Ferris Beuller in my brother. Still do, and for that I’ve always envied him. He tried to “save” me a number of times. He probably doesn’t know I appreciate and remember it, but I do.
The beauty of a good film is the story we see on screen is often the story we see in ourselves. We live, learn and live some more. We remember the obstacles we overcome. It’s important to always be thankful to those who helped us. Ferris indeed is a righteous dude.
“The closer he looks at the child, the less he sees… The more he looks at it, there’s nothing there, and I think he fears that the more you look at him, the less you see –– there isn’t anything there.” – John Hughes
I believe Cameron Frye is the greatest character in modern cinema.
I mean, think about it. Seriously, John, why didn’t you name it “Cameron Frye’s Day Off”? That’s what it is: Cameron’s rebirth. All the people who have seen this movie want to be Ferris, wish they could date Sloane, and recognize themselves in Cameron.
Who’s the only character who experiences any personal growth over the entire film? Who’s the only character who deals with real world problems like inattentive parents and unrequited love? He’s a hypochondriac, he’s depressed, he’s awkward. He’s witty, he’s sweet, he’s relatable.
“I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m gonna take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it.”
There’s a crazy theory going around the Internet that –– wait for it –– the entire day takes place entirely in Cameron’s head, a la “Fight Club.” While highly unlikely, it does makes sense. Cameron’s got this wretched home life, and no one gives two cents about how he is and what he does. Ferris, on the other hand, has the world in his back pocket, commanding attention wherever he goes. He’s got Sloane Peterson (the most stunning 17-year-old I’ve ever seen), parents who dote on him, and a legion of adoring high schoolers. Geeks, sportos, motorheads, dweebs, dorks, sluts, buttheads… They all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.
While I don’t believe the schizophrenic hypothesis, the Ferris-Cameron relationship is fascinating. It’s clear that the two have issues (listen to them bicker like an old married couple), but it’s also clear that they genuinely care about each other.
Cameron: “The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than a hundred were made. My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love, it is his passion…”
Ferris: “It is his fault he didn’t lock the garage.”
The true climax of the movie doesn’t come with Ferris; it’s Cameron. You could write a film school paper on the significance of Cameron’s symbolic rebirth… Ferris pulls him from the pool –– a literal baptism –– and saves his life. A physical rescue, of course, but on a deeper level, a mental rescue: Ferris Bueller teaches Cameron Frye how to live. He’s been awkward and unsure and unloved his entire life, and now, staring college in the face, he finally feels alive.
Cameron Frye, this one’s for you.