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Drama

Please stand by (2017)

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Please stand byA young autistic woman runs away from her caregiver in an attempt to submit her manuscript to a “Star Trek” writing competition.

Genre : Drama
Country : USA

Cast :
Dakota Fanning : Wendy
Toni Collette : Scottie
Alice Eve : Audrey

Director :
Ben Lewin

My opinion on “Please stand by”

“Like Spock, for example.
He’s half-human, half-alien.
He has trouble dealing with his emotions.
Where did it say that?
That’s just how he is.”

Although “Stand by me” is a fairly predictable film and unrestrainedly endeavors to strike a sensitive nerve, I’m all for such a type of film. The number of films about individuals with a disability, who try to survive in our society where perfection is the standard nowadays, and who succeed in making great achievements, is endless. “I am Sam“, “Forrest Gump“, “Rain Man“, “The theory of everything“, “Still Alice“, “X + Y” and “Who’s driving doug“, to name but a few. These are all films where one feels sorry for the main character first. And after a while you realize that these persons surpass all expectations and amaze themselves about their own abilities. Just like Wendy (Dakota Fanning), who suffers from a severe form of autism so that communicating with her environment is a huge obstacle and her daily life is determined by a strict schedule. Handing in a self-written script for a “Star Trek” episode, however, ensures that this well-ordered and well-defined life is shaken up.

Great acting by Dakota Fanning.

All due respect to Dakota Fanning. The way she played this complex character deserves all praise. She distanced herself from all the possibilities available to portray Wendy with all possible tics and ridiculous rituals. Also the phenomenon of autism was not unnecessarily enlarged by her. Apart from the compulsive writing down of all kinds of facts in her notebook and the pattern of colorful sweaters she’s wearing on specific days, she seems to function reasonably normal. Not as Freddie Higmore who plays a similar character in “The Good Doctor” with a forced intonation making him sound  like a voice computer with incorrectly installed software from Lernout & Hauspie. And yes, I know the spectrum of autism is fairly broad. But I appreciated the modesty with which Dakota Fanning played the person Wendy.

Beam me up, Scottie.

Also ToniMiss you alreadyCollette played a not so bad part as Scottie who leads the home where Wendy lives. A patient and passionate person who guides each individual in this center and tries to point these individuals the right way towards a bearable personal life. It wasn’t immediately clear to me whether Scottie was her real name or a kind of joke because of Wendy’s passion for the television series “Star Trek“. Frankly, I felt that all other characters fulfilled their job in an orderly manner. The fact they came across as plain add-ons is entirely due to the beautiful acting of Dakota Fanning of course. The entire film shows how Wendy’s trust grows and she shifts her own boundaries (even if it’s just crossing a specific street).

An adventurous quest.

Please stand by” is not primarily about how autists handle themselves and how confusing their view on life is. The subject isn’t really thoroughly explored or explained in this area. I can’t even remember the word autism being pronounced once. Only a brief remark by a devout, old female about her grandson who displays an identical behavior. It’s actually a kind of adventurous quest with the ultimate goal of delivering the filmscript. And so Wendy needs to follow a path, completely normal for average people, where she meets a lot of people with bad intentions. And each time she’s saved by caring persons. Almost something like Frodo and that damn ring he had to throw in Mount Doom. Also a risky quest full of obstacles and devious creatures. But then without the autism phenomenon.

Someone get that script !

Finally, a big applaus for the dog Pete who accompanies Wendy the whole way. They looked like Dorothy and Toto heading for the Wizard of Oz. Fortunately, the duo wasn’t as annoying as Reese Witherspoon and her little pooch in a pink outfit in “Legally Blonde“. And the most surprising moment was when a policeman talked to Wendy in a very remarkable way. But you have to discover that yourself when you watch this engaging and charming film.

P.S. If the script “The many and the few” really exists, I hope it’ll become a real film. The fragments of text that were read, sounded intriguing!

My rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

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Crime

Apple TV + | Cherry | Official Trailer

The wild journey of a disenfranchised young man from Ohio who meets the love of his life, only to risk losing her through a series of bad decisions and challenging life circumstances.

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Genre:

Crime, Drama

Release Date:

February 26, 2021

Director:

Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Cast:

Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Michael Rispoli, Jeff Wahlberg, Michael Gandolfini

Plot Summary:

The wild journey of a disenfranchised young man from Ohio who meets the love of his life, only to risk losing her through a series of bad decisions and challenging life circumstances.

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Drama

Netflix | Malcolm & Marie

When filmmaker Malcolm (John David Washington) and his girlfriend Marie (Zendaya), return home from a movie premiere and await his film’s critical response, the evening takes a turn as revelations about their relationship surface, testing the couple’s love.

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Genre:

Drama, Romance

Release Date:

February 5, 2021

Director:

Sam Levinson

Cast:

Zendaya, John David Washington

Plot Summary:

A filmmaker returns home with his girlfriend following a celebratory movie premiere as he awaits what’s sure to be imminent critical and financial success. The evening suddenly takes a turn as revelations about their relationships begin to surface, testing the strength of their love.

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Drama

REVIEW: Nomadland

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Nomadland is the third feature film from Chloé Zhao, who previously wrote, directed and produced Songs My Brother Taught Me (2015) and The Rider (2017) and she’s back with another great film. After winning the top award at both Venice and Toronto Film Festivals the film looks set to take home a good number of awards over the coming months including at the Oscars. Nomadland is a fictionalised version of the 2017 book Nomadland: Surviving American in the Twenty-First Century written by Jessica Bruder and it follows Fern, played remarkably by Frances McDormand (Fargo, Three Billboards), a woman who embarks on a journey across the American West after losing everything in the Great Recession.

Nomadland is one of those films where in terms of plot and story, not a lot actually happens throughout its runtime. And in a film like this where you’re not necessarily being immediately captivated and gripped by the narrative, it can be very easy to get bored and to lose interest in the film. But that’s not the case with Nomadland at all. Zhao takes the viewer along the journey with Fern and for every minute of this film and for every step that Fern takes we feel like we are there with her and the film manages to take you on this journey so well. The film progresses and you don’t know where it’s going to take you next and yet it doesn’t matter in the slightest. It places the viewer in a position where you feel almost like a nomad yoursef, just slowly drifting across the country with Fern. The film glides along, moving from all the various characters that she meets and as we experience these characters, mere moments later they’re gone as we’ve moved onto something else and someone else.

Zhao has continued to prove her talent as both a writer and a director as with Nomadland she’s created a really powerful film that is completely driven by the central character Fern. McDormand gives an incredibly moving performance and really brings the character to life but she’s able to do so with such ease because not only is McDormand a great actress but the character is written so well by Zhao and given so much life to her. We don’t have much longer to wait for Zhao’s next film, Marvel’s Eternals,which is currently scheduled to be released in November 2021 and whilst moving from a slow, delicately made, character-driven film like Nomadland to a big superhero film might be a big jump, it seems clear that Zhao should be able to make that leap.

Through the incredible cinematography, directing and performances, certain scenes in Nomadland feel like they could have been taken directly from a documentary. It feels like what you’re watching and experiencing is so real that you almost forget that it isn’t. And because of this, the film just has so much heart and humanity and warmth and all of the film’s characters, even the ones that we only encounter for a few minutes, have such a tenderness to them and really complete the film. The film looks so amazing as well and it takes us from locations like a large, enclosed Amazon warehouse to the vast, open landscapes of the desert and it really feels like the viewer there with McDormand’s Fran.

Nomadland is a powerful film, driven by McDormand’s impressive, yet understated performance as well as the incredible direction and writing from Zhao that looks set to win big at the upcoming awards ceremonies.

★★★★☆

Nomadland is released on 19th February.

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