Please Stand By         review by Bobby Blakey

Dakota Fanning is one of those rare young actresses that has already amassed an impressive resume in both the amount of projects, but also the caliber of talent she has worked with. Her latest film Please Stand By co-stars Toni Collette, Alice Eve, Patton Oswalt, and Marla Gibbs, but does this offer up something that truly takes you where no man has gone before or will it fail to engage?

Please Stand By follows Wendy, a fiercely independent and brilliant young woman with autism who 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 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. With her little dog Pete in her purse and a few dollars in her pocket, Wendy boldly goes where she has never gone before with the help of some colorful friends she meets along the way.

 

The use of Star Trek to tell this story made for a much more compelling story than I thought it would have. The cast are all great, but it is the great performance from Dakota Fanning that really propels this film forward. She brings a believable emotional and mental struggle to the role that is needed for it to gets its full impact across. The story is actually pretty simple, but the subject matter and performances make it way deeper than you might expect complete with some really heartbreaking moments if you allow yourself to attempt to understand what she is going through to accomplish the smallest things. The film allows the viewer to slowly see not only her growth, but also her struggle in a way that makes you understand what she is dealing with and why the smallest things are so important.

Anytime they make a film focusing on someone with some sort of a disorder it often times comes off like an act, but I think Fanning did a great job at making believable. Her journey to get to the studio for her script offers up some fun characters and growth the character that you can believe as opposed to the usual Hollywood gimmick. Overall I enjoyed this film and applaud both the idea and direction director Ben Lewin and writer Michael Golamco go with it all and never felt the need to do anything other than let it tell its story.

 Boldy go on a different kind of journey with Please Stand By available now on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

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