Title: Standing Up
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
Starring: Chandler Canterbury, Annalise Basso, Radha Mitchell, Kate Maberly, Val Kilmer
Running Time:1 hour 33 minutes, Rated PG, In theaters and VOD
Howie and Grace have been stripped naked and abandoned on an island across the lake as part of a cruel camp prank tradition. Rather than face their tormentors, they go on the run. They go on a 3 day journey where they make new friends and find some courage they didn’t have before.
The negative: Why did they change the title? This one is so generic and bland. I read the novel of which this film was based and a lot of elements were omitted that I thought they should have kept. I can see why they left one out because, Grace is having a hard enough time as it is, why add getting her period on top of it? This film takes place in 1984, were is the neon? Where’s the crimped hair? Besides the fact nobody has a cell phone, you’d never know what decade this film takes place. The pacing was rushed and the elements of danger felt forced. Val Kilmer plays a coming out of nowhere awkward villain; more of an unintentional comic relief as a bumbling sheriff’s deputy. Even though it’s in the book, I don’t see how the hotel clerk would believe Grace is “Mrs Hendricks” unless Mr Hendricks is Humbert Humbert or Doug Hutchison.
The positive: It has a good message to kids who have been bullied – there’s always someone who has it worse than you. The kids sneak into another camp to avoid capture, and they meet several kids who understand them and actually want them to feel included and they realize that being popular isn’t what’s important. I liked in the hotel room scene how the filmmakers captured the awkward tension between the characters Grace & Howie; they know what sex is, but they know they’re too young to be thinking about it. The one prop I noticed that was circa 80’s was that thin camera Howie borrowed. I can only imagine young kids watching this and thinking this is how they took selfies before cell phones.
Standing Up is based on the young adult novel “The Goats” by Brock Cole. I remember the book being the only one I actually enjoyed reading on my 8th grade reading list. Like a lot of kids, I was also bullied, so this was relatable story and unfortunately a very timely one.
Total Rating: B
Reviewed by: JM Willis