Film Review: Please Stand By (2017)

Length: 1hr 33
Rating: 12
Release: 26.1.2018 (but is considered a 2017 film due to having its premire on 27.10.2018)
About: Wendy sees things differently: she’s fiercely independent, with a brilliant mind and a mischievous sense of hilarity. Wendy also has autism. To her, people are an indecipherable code and the world is a confusing place. Inspired by her no-nonsense caregiver, Wendy comes of age and escapes from her care home on the road trip of a lifetime to deliver her 500-page script to a screenwriting competition.

The Good

  • Dakota Fanning is wonderful in the part of Wendy, a woman on the spectrum trying to enter a script writing contest. Fanning will be able to demonstrate a detachment from her own emotions while filling you with all of the emotions.
  • Alice Eve and Toni Collette are amazing support. Eve’s role as the sister infuriated me at first, but over the course of the film I felt I had more of an understanding of the position she was in. It is through both characters that you really get an understanding of the specific challenges Wendy faces.
  • Patton Oswalt can do no wrong. He’s an absolute star in this film’s final act. His ability to connect with Wendy will give you the biggest smile and reduce you to tears of joy.

The Bad

While the film’s plot is centered around Star Trek, I’d had loved to have seen more Easter Eggs beyond casting Alive Eve as the sister. It’s a viewer expectation, but it was Trek that caught my attention and I kind of expected to see a few familiar faces along the road.


The Ugly

It felt a little like it was a film about autism rather than it being a film about a character that just so happens to be on the spectrum. It might seem like a petty thing, but its much the same way films with gay central characters have their ‘coming out’ be the focus of the plot.
It makes autism seem like something that needs to be taught, that its a new phenomenon that people need to be held by the hand when exploring. Yes, films like this have the power to inform and educate, but its more important mission is to ensure people on the spectrum have someone to look to. Its as much their film as any others.


Final Thoughts

It’s cute, geeky and will make you cry. Even though it was light on its Trek, I still enjoyed the journey. Not something I’ll rush to rewatch, but I’m glad I caught it before it left Now TV.

Booksmart (2019)

Length: 1 hr 42

Rating: 15

Release: 27.5.2019

About: Academic overachievers Amy and Molly thought keeping their noses to the grindstone gave them a leg up on their high school peers. But on the eve of graduation, the best friends suddenly realize that they may have missed out on the special moments of their teenage years. Determined to make up for lost time, the girls decide to cram four years of not-to-be missed fun into one night — a chaotic adventure that no amount of book smarts could prepare them for.

The Good

  • Last Man Standing’s Kaitlyn Denver is her awesome self in this coming of age drama. Her development throughout the film will charm you and have you wondering where she was when you were in high school. The emotion she brings to the film final act is something you have to see. I predict we’ll be seeing Dever in main stream films very soon.
  • The film on a whole is quite possibly one of the best teen films I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s done away with the fixed stereotypes as much as possible and it certainly has representation and inclusivity bang on the nose. What is most surprising, is that the malice of high school is removed. We have no ‘Carrie’ style humiliation for the outsider.
  • Skylar Gisondo is, as always, a delight to have in a film. He’s shed the loser geek status of ‘Vacation’ but retained the vulnerable quality. It makes for an interesting character you’ll really care for.
  • The scene stealer of the film has to go to Billie Lourd. She’s everything like her mother, and more. I’ll say nothing more; she has to be seen to be believed.
  • It was refreshing to have the American Pie type topics (read: porn, masterbation and performance fears) from a female perspective. It gives a positive and empowering message regarding sex to women. Something I’ve not really seen outside of Sex and the City.

The Bad and The Ugly

I am sick of the teacher trope. Fuck me, I’m so tired of it. In an age where we’re calling out the Weinstein’s of the world and demanding diversity and equality, I want Hollywood to kill the social acceptance of a teacher fucking a student in a movie and there being no consequence. As someone who left the profession recently, you are not doing us any favours Hollywood. You’re rose tinting the fuck out of statutory rape and a gross misuse of power, and its not cool. In fact, you’re making it easier for predators because you’re not only telling kids that it can happen but you’re telling them to embrace it, when in fact you should be telling them to run!

It’s pretty much the only thing I didn’t like, but it really sucks.

Final Thoughts

It’s an excellent indie film that pushes all the boundaries that have been set over the past decade or so and needs to be seen by everyone. Gone is the belter soundtrack you’ll be racing to buy, the tour of the cafeteria with all the cliques and its all for the better.

It’s not a family time watch, but its uplifting, inspiring and empowering.