Monday, February 18, 2008
Stand By Me
A time when memories were made and where reality impinges into the lives of some twelve year old boys.
The story is about 4 friends who live in a small town c. 1950s and amuse themselves intermittently with card games, big talk, dares and cartoon characters. They are from differing backgrounds - Teddy has a father who is mentally unstable, Vern has a brother that is a local lout, Chris has an alcoholic father and Gordie has a family who is still grieving for the loss of their older son.
Vern overhears his brother talking about a dead boy they found, but they are unwilling to tell the authorities because they saw it in the process of stealing of a car. Vern sees the chance of an adventure and tells his friends who shortly set off on a mini camping trip to find the dead boy, after misleading their parents as to their whereabouts and forgetting to pack essential supplies (like food!). On their journey they have mini-adventures, some scares and some discussions about things that are important to twelve year olds. During some quieter moments they reveal some of their internal sorrows and worries. They grow up a little during the journey and some of their friendships are cemented.
Quality acting by the two leads - Wil Wheaton (Gordie) and River Pheonix (Chris) - the latter especially turns in an brilliant performance. Cory Feldman is a familiar face and enjoys the role of a slightly crazy Teddy and Gerry O'Connell plays a convincing Vern, although is hardly recognisable from the adult actor! Head of the local louts is played by Kiefer Sutherland who plays "baddie" roles so convincingly.
Even though this is an old movie, from 1986, it is well worth a watch. Showing the value of friendship it would be suitable for younger teen boys, however there is quite a bit of language so beware for younger viewers.