If you have a term paper due in high school and you’re supposed to do a review of the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” movie, you may be thinking that you just have to watch the movie.
The problem with that approach is that you are basically going to be stuck with a typical narrative. You’re probably just going to go in there and try to dissect the movie based on what you know and the kind of movies you’ve seen before.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but please understand that there’s a reason why there are acclaimed movie reviewers throughout the United States.
There’s a reason why publishers as well advertisers pay them good money to write review after review of movies. You might want to pay attention to how they write their reviews.
If you are looking to come up with a truly compelling review of the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” movie, listen up. First of all, I enjoyed the bathrobe scene in that movie!
Read as Many Reviews as You Can
The first thing that you need to do is to get on to Metacritic and look through their archives of past reviews of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
You should start to see a pattern. You should see that certain people have certain writing styles. A lot of people seem to focus on one particular element, while others seem to be all over the place.
The key here is to get a nice little survey of everybody’s writing style. And most importantly, what they focus on.
By getting some sort of big picture view of the typical review of the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” movie, you can start assembling some sort of internal hierarchy or priority list regarding things you should pay attention to.
Look for Recurring Themes
If you notice that people keep talking about a certain scene in the movie, you should sit up and pay attention. It means that there is some sort of cultural significance to the movie, especially if you come across a review that’s been written several years after most people have gotten around to doing a review of the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” movie.
If you notice that this theme somehow, some way, captured the American critical imagination, then you may be on to something. You may be on to a particular cultural moment or turning point that it may resonate to this very day.
Now, please understand that just because a lot of people write a review about a particular movie, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is automatically culturally significant and important. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you would hang on to every word of each reviewer.
But if you notice that a lot of the reviews were written closer to your time than to the actual release date of the original “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” movie, pay attention. This means that somehow, some way, this is some sort of a generational movie.
Maybe it captured the essence or the spirit of the age. Maybe a lot of people are looking back and using the movie as some sort of filtering mechanism for their own struggles and issues from that period in history. Whatever the case may be, look for these elements so you can start off strong with your own review.
Start Strong and Finish Strong
Please understand that all movie reviews are essays. Seriously.
Why? An essay is supposed to be a piece of writing that tries to convince the reader of your position. That’s the bottom line behind an essay. That’s its whole reason for existing.
Now, given that reality, it should logically follow that reviews are essentially essays. If you’re writing a review and saying that “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is an amazing movie and it’s the best thing since sliced bread, or you’re trying to say the opposite, then you’re trying to convince the reader to come around to your position.
In other words, you’re trying to persuade the reader. The whole essence of the essay form is to persuade.
Now, understand how this works. In other words, you’re going to make an assertion in the beginning, and then you are going to offer proof of that assessment.
How do you prove a claim? Well, it’s very simple. You can look at facts and say, “Well, this proves what I’m trying to say.”
You can also use logic by pointing out facts. You can say that this fact happened, and by logical deduction and logical analysis, this proves my point.
Regardless of how you do it, please understand that the overarching reason why you are writing a review in the first place is to persuade the person.
There is No Right or Wrong Answer
Now comes the good news. As long as you can identify key elements of the movie and you can persuasively make your case, then you can take comfort from the fact that when it comes to this kind of thing, there is really no right or wrong answer.
You don’t have to hang your hat on a particular position. It’s not going to make or break your academic career. Instead, it’s just going to show whoever is going to be reading your essay that you know how to write, you know how to make a claim, and you know how to back it up.
Believe me, that is not a strictly academic skill. That’s the kind of skill set you will need for any kind of job in the real world.
Whether you want to become a corporate soldier or a CEO, or if you want to work in a factory, the ability to read instructions, read between the lines, read for maximum comprehension, and put it all together in a persuasive document can serve you well throughout your life.
Don’t think for a second that just because you’re looking for a review of the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” movie that you’re just wasting your time and that this is all useless academic exercise.
No, it isn’t. It actually builds up your skills as a person. You become a more persuasive and, ultimately, a more effective individual.