SYNOPSIS: Wendy sees thing differently: she fiercely independent, with a brilliant mind and a mischievous sense of hilarity. Wendy also has autism. To her, people are in indecipherable code and the world’s a confusing place. Inspired by her no-nonsence caregiver, Wendy comes a of age and escapes from her care home on the road trip of a lifetime to deliver her 500-page script to a writing competition.
She might have acted opposite numerous Hollywood heavyweights liked Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro and Sean Penn in her younger days but in recent years, Dakota Fanning’s career seems to be stuck in a limbo as she blossomed into an adult despite her obvious acting talent.
In this feel-good indie drama, Fanning stars as an autistic young woman, Wendy who works a day job at Cinnabon and stays in a care center under the supervision of Scottie (Toni Collette from Hereditary). When her elder sister, Audrey (Alice Eve) came to visit and tells her she is selling their childhood home, Wendy suffers a meltdown and embarks on a solo road trip the day after to Paramount Studio hoping to win a screenwriter’s contest so as to help Audrey buy back their house.
Please Stand By is a movie that revolves around autism, a form of behaviour disorder that even with the advancement of today’s society has yet fully grasp on and fortunately screenwriter Michael Golamco never sugar-coat or fictionalised the material. Through the character of Wendy, we learnt that people suffering from autism is venerable to scammers, muggers, they have difficulty with directions, human contact and even the simplest of all daily activities. Yes, it’s uncomfortable but it is also genuine.
As Wendy embarks on her road trip to submit her 500 pages Star Trek script, we realised the outside world is far too dangerous even for a grown-up liked Wendy. There are cheater, mugger lurking at every corner but there’s also the nice African-American lady who steps in to help Wendy. It’s a trip that features zero outrageous gags and antics except a determined soul who strives to achieve independency and to get united with her sister so that she can leave the rigidity of the care center.
The always reliable Toni Collette is excellent as Wendy’s protective caregiver and there’s a brief subplot about her and her neglected teenage son. Alice Eve who actually did appeared in Star Trek: Into Darkness is serviceable as the conflicted elder sister and comedian Patton Oswalt shines as a cop that is fluent in Klingon. Lastly, Tony Revolori from The Grand Budapest Hotel has a very small role as Wendy’s fellow colleague.
Not a surprise, Fanning is perfectly cast as Wendy. There’s hardly a moment where I feel it’s a performance as her brilliant and nuanced portrayal makes it a worthwhile trip to hop along. Please Stand By might be a tad too formulaic in terms of story structure but you shouldn’t fault it for all the sincerity, emotion and a strong cast it brings.
he Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and DVD visual is effective on this small-scale title.
TDVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee