Please Stand By – Intriguing and Accurate Portrayal of Creative Autistic Youth

Wendy sees things differently: she’s fiercely independent, with a brilliant mind and a mischievous sense of hilarity. Wendy also has autism. To her, people are an indecipherable code and the world’s a confusing place. Inspired by her no-nonsense caregiver, Wendy comes 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. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “I just hope people take away from this movie an understanding that people with challenges can still accomplish great things. Autistic people are extremely creative and deserve more credit and opportunities.” Morgan B. adds, “The storyline is very intriguing. Many people want to be writers and are waiting for their big break. This film is all about a passionate writer and it can help people who want to be writers because encourages them to be courageous and to live their dreams to the fullest.” See their full reviews below.

Please Stand By
By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

I was very impressed with this film. The portrayals are fairly accurate and positive. I think that’s important.

This film is about an autistic girl named Wendy, played by Dakota Fanning. Wendy is a humongous Star Trek fan who runs away from her caregiver and heads to Paramount Pictures to enter her script in a Star Trek writing contest.

The first thing that I must talk about is the fact that the main character is a female autistic girl. I am on the autism spectrum myself.  Specifically, I have high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome. It’s a common misconception that autism occurs mainly in boys, yet this film has a female lead who’s on the spectrum and I love that. Autism has such a wide spectrum and effects 1 in 100 people. There are a lot of us out there and, aside from this movie, I can only think of a few other fictional characters on the spectrum and that upsets me. It’s rare to see autistic people represented, until recently and they are interesting people. The traits shown in this film are accurate. For example, there’s a scene when Wendy sings to herself while covering her ears to block out the loud noises. I can relate to that since I do that too. It’s good that the traits shown are correct.

Wendy is a character who you can’t help but want to root for. I relate to her passion for writing, as I am also a writer. I wanted her to succeed so badly. Also, all of the Star Trek references actually have a purpose. At first, it just seems as if her love of Star Trek is just her special interest, as many autistic people develop special interests. But the movie actually uses the Star Trek references in a much more meaningful way. There’s a scene where one of the characters explains to his mom that Spock has trouble with his emotions. He uses this as an example of why Wendy might be obsessed with the show. To be honest, I thought that metaphor was incredibly creative.

However, I’ll be honest, the older sister, Audrey, really bothered me. I understand Wendy is lower functioning. They show early on how Wendy would freak out and start hitting herself when she was overwhelmed. But, the only reason that Wendy runs away is because her sister doesn’t trust Wendy being away from her caregiver, therefore Audrey won’t drive Wendy to the post office to drop off the script. I know caretakers will connect with Audrey as it can be difficult to care for people with challenges. I just hope people take away from this movie an understanding that people with challenges can still accomplish great things. Autistic people are extremely creative and deserve more credit and opportunities.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. This film is in theaters now, be sure to check it out.

Please Stand By
By Morgan B. Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Get ready for takeoff on a Star Trek adventure! Please Stand By is the voyage of Wendy, a young autistic woman who sees her life as a Star Trek quest with Spock as her guiding light.

I like that this film has very realist cinematography. The film seems natural and real. By not having graphics, it is a nice change. In so many movies today, there are tons of graphics. Also there are intercuts showing what Wendy is seeing in her mind, which helps you get into the mind frame of her character. I love that because, when I  watched the film I got to understand where she was coming from, her motivation and why she was driven to this quest.

The storyline is very intriguing. Many people want to be writers and are waiting for their big break. This film is all about a passionate writer and it can help people who want to be writers because encourages them to be courageous and to live their dreams to the fullest.

My favorite scene is when Wendy’s dog Pete needs to go to bathroom so badly that he goes on the bus, because the next stop is an hour away. This scene is so funny. I laughed a lot while watching it. Also Pete and Wendy learned that “logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”(Spock) She had never ventured out in the world by herself and that is all about to change.

Wendy’s (Dakota Fanning) strength to carry on even when things get rough is inspiring. It takes courage to leave her hometown so she can get her 500 page script in on time to Paramount Pictures. She is willing to do the impossible and “boldly go where no man has gone before”(Captain Kirk) This is why Wendy is my favorite character and a great role model. There is nothing that will stop her – hospitals, cops, robbers and a slew or other obstacles will have you laughing and in tears.

I recommend this to ages 13 to 18. It is a fantastic film with an amazing message. Teenagers will love that Wendy has a mind of her own and is willing to do whatever is takes to get her script in. They might think about becoming writers themselves. I give  it 4.5 out of 5 Star Trek flying stars. It opens in theaters January 26, 2018 so be sure to go check it out.

 

 

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