VIDEO ESSAY: Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Legendary writer-director John Hughes was responsible for a string of iconic teen films from the 1980s onward. And yet without the characters feeling like real teenagers (with Cameron Frye in particular, to the fore), the films wouldn’t work.

The audiences wouldn’t care.

People still argue that in PRETTY IN PINK best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) should have ended up with Andie (Molly Ringwald), or which member of THE BREAKFAST CLUB they are.

Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) then, from FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, is another great example.

Ferris (Matthew Broderick) may be impossibly cool and loved by his fellow students, but he and the film need Cameron Frye for balance. Cameron has the arc, the character growth. 

It’s Cameron Frye who, like the rest of us, has to learn and internalise Ferris’ immortal words:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

By 1986, when FERRIS BULLER and Cameron Frye rolled around, John Hughes was no stranger to screenwriting

Impressively, he also wrote the first draft of FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF in six days (and in the very early days of screenwriting software too).

Hughes compared the George Seurat painting featured in the film, the one Cameron Frye becomes fixated on, with the process of filmmaking:

I always thought this painting was sort of like making a movie, the pointillist style. You don’t have any idea what you’ve made until you step back from it.

Stepping back from how much sheer fun the film is, what lessons can writers and filmmakers draw from Cameron Frye in FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF?

Check out the video on Cameron Frye below.

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