“The world is a confusing place for Wendy (Dakota Fanning). 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 she must first 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, so she uses her Star Trek filter to understand them. When a screenplay competition presents itself, Wendy decides to finish her five hundred-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 protective boundaries to submit her script in person.
“With her little dog Pete in her purse and a few dollars in her pocket, Wendy boldly goes where she has never gone before. And with her no-nonsense therapist [Scottie] (Toni Colette) and big sister Audrey (Alice Eve) following close behind, Wendy, with the help of some colorful friends she meets along the way, must learn how to follow her dream and find her place in a world she hopes will accept her…Just like everyone else.”
This was a sweet, simple, if somewhat predictable story. One feels empathy for Wendy when she is told that she can’t go back home and live with her sister, Audrey because Audrey was afraid of Wendy’s temper tantrums and the potential for her daughter Ruby to be hurt during one of them. Yet Audrey loved her sister dearly.
Wendy’s temper tantrum after she was told that she couldn’t go home with Audrey resulted in her missing mailing her Star Trek script to Los Angeles in time. Therefore, she decides to head down to L.A. from San Francisco. After a little help from a bus driver, she figures out how to get downtown to get to the bus that will take her to L.A.
But the trip doesn’t go smoothly for Wendy. The choice to take her dog Pete with her, after he follows her from her group home, turns out to be a bad decision. Because of Pete, Wendy finds herself stranded out in the middle of nowhere, far from L.A. She has no option other than to start walking. On the way to L.A., she runs into both bad and good people. Her experiences with the bad ones don’t deter her from her ultimate goal of reaching Paramount Studios to deliver her script. One winces at her innocence and feels anger at those taking advantage of someone who is not used to dealing with people and who is naive.
Some of the movie was unbelievable. Waiting for another bus to L.A., Wendy sleeps on a bench outside of the station overnight and is not attacked or robbed. In the hospital scene, her escape seemed improbable. Losing her script and then having it restored to her whole because Scottie’s son Sam retrieved what she had left behind in her haste to escape just made me shake my head.
The actions of the cop were also unbelievable. Really? You can speak fluently to Wendy in a made-up language and she both understands you fully and then trusts you? Nah!
Wendy’s determination kept her going in spite of all the setbacks she encountered and one couldn’t help but love her.
The scene towards the end with the mailroom employee was funny – Wendy totally outwitted him. In spite of her difficulties reading people and the total upending of her usual routine, Wendy proved to be very resourceful.
The ending regarding the script was realistic and there was some unexpected happiness for Wendy at the end of the movie.
As for the title, Please Stand By? You’ll have to watch the movie to see from where that comes.
I liked the movie. Parts were implausible, but hey, I watch a show where a starship with flimsy nacelles warps through the galaxy. Fanning did a good job as Wendy. I don’t know how accurate the autism portrayal is, but for Joe Average, the portrayal would work.
Several scenes from Scottie’s relationship with her son Sam (River Alexander) were cut (but appear in the special features) and I feel it would have been more interesting to have kept them as it would have fleshed out Scottie’s character a bit more.
The two special features were rather nominal. The only one that was of worth was the one featuring the cut scenes. I was rather surprised at how few special features there were.
For Trek fans, I think the film is worthy to all except for the most cynical fans. With a short hour-and-a-half runtime, it doesn’t take much time to watch.
Director: Ben Lewin
Screenplay: Michael Golamco
Main Actors: Dakota Fanning, Toni Collette, Alice Eve, River Alexander, Marla Gibbs, Jessica Rothe, and Michael Stahl-David
Special Guest Appearance: Patton Oswalt
Special Features: The Making of Please Stand By, Deleted Scenes
From Magnolia Pictures
Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD now.
Run time: ninety-three minutes
To purchase the DVD or Blu-ray, head to the link located here.
Cost: Blu-ray $29.98 ($16.59 Amazon)
DVD: $26.98 ($12.96 Amazon)