Calling all Trekkies! Captain Kev, calling all Trekkies!
Synopsis: The world is a confusing place for Wendy. As a fiercely independent and brilliant young woman with autism, Wendy longs to leave the regimen of her group home, and return to life with her sister’s family and their new baby. But first she must prove herself. As a lover of all-things-Star Trek, Wendy writes fantasy stories in her free time. To her, people are an indecipherable code; and she uses her Star Trek filter to understand them. When a screenplay competition presents itself, Wendy decides to finish her 500 page Star Trek script and enter. Now the problem is getting it there. In order to meet the deadline, Wendy must travel hundreds of miles outside her protected boundaries to submit her script in person. (Magnolia Pictures)
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Toni Collette, and Alice Eve
Writer: Michael Golamco
Director: Ben Lewin
Rating: n/a (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 93mins
For showtimes and more, check out Please Stand By on movietimes.com.
As it usually goes for low-budget indie films, Please Stand By‘s success as a compelling story lies on the shoulders of the screenwriters and actors. Fanning has never been better. Lately she’s been overshadowed by the many successes of her younger sister, Elle, but Dakota has not given up. She makes a statement here – a statement saying that she can indeed act. Like her former Twilight cast-mates, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, she has proven herself to be a legitimate talent.
Fanning plays a young autistic woman named Wendy. Wendy is a huge fan of Star Trek and, while she’s staying in an assisted-living home, she learns of a Star Trek screenplay contest with which she becomes passionately obsessed. She spends the majority of about 4 days or so working on her script and shutting everyone else out of her life. The problem is she lives in the Bay Area of Northern California, the script needs to be mailed to Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles, and it’s a long holiday weekend.
Wendy sets off on this runaway journey to Los Angeles during which she encounters many obstacles and is constantly taken advantage of by strangers due to her Autism. If Fanning’s performance doesn’t work, this film instantly falls flat on its face but that’s not the case here. Fanning’s portrayal of a young autistic woman is impeccable and quite possibly the best portrayal of Autism in a film in years. Fanning’s performance was both convincing and compelling where her performance wasn’t method acting but rather as someone who was legitimately on the spectrum. She is absolutely the film’s shining star.
Enough about Fanning’s performance, though, because she’s not the only person in the movie. The supporting cast around her elevates the film to another level. Toni Collette, Alice Eve, Jessica Rothe, Patton Oswalt, Tony Revolori, and the rest of the cast all came to play as well. Collette plays Scottie, the owner of the home Wendy lives in. Eve plays Audrey, Wendy’s older sister. Jessica Rothe plays Julie, a woman Wendy encounters on her bizarre road trip to Los Angeles. Patton Oswalt plays a cop and fellow Trekkie that Wendy meets. Tony Revolori plays Nemo, Wendy’s coworker at Cinnabon who clearly has a crush on her, though she’s oblivious. Some of these characters have larger roles than others, but none of the roles are wasted.
Though it’s clever and probably takes the film up another level if you’re a Trekkie, the film’s abundance of Star Trek knowledge which could be limiting for others. Please Stand By is overflowing with Star Trek references and easter eggs that some may not understand. Please Stand By knows that it’ll have an audience of non-Trekkies, so it does its best to have expositional dialogue that explains the basics of Trek, but it doesn’t always work.
However, do not let that turn you away from this film. At its heart, Please Stand By is simply an inspirational story about a young woman pursuing her ultimate dream. It is heartfelt, emotional, and completely earnest in the way the story is presented and acted. It’s definitely Trek-heavy, but the film does enough to captivate and inspire viewers because of the story being one that is easily relatable for almost everyone. We all have dreams we are pursuing or have previously pursued and Please Stand By is the kind of film that inspires us to never give up.
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