Star Trek is always a popular ‘go to’ for movies and TV shows when they are looking to write something that references another series, Please Stand By follows suit.
Wendy, Dakota Fanning (Brimstone, Coraline), is a 21-year old autistic woman living in a home run by Scottie, Toni Collete (Little Miss Sunshine, Muriel’s Wedding).
Wendy has a daily, and weekly, routine that she can recite by heart and is also a massive Star Trek fan and in the process of writing a screenplay for a Star Trek movie. As she nears the end of her script, it is announced that Paramount Pictures are hosting a competition for budding writers to submit their Star Trek script and win $100,000.
Wendy sets out to do just that. But, as a woman who knows exactly what she’s doing from one day to the next, down to the colour of her sweater, making it all the way to LA from Colorado.
Please Stand By is a funny, heart-warming story, that takes Wendy on a journey of self-discovery and further discovery about the world around her as she is robbed, meets a gentle old woman, and a police officer who speaks Klingon, Patton Oswalt (Veep, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty).
A film of this nature rests heavily on the shoulders of its lead. Fanning does a good job though it’s not in the league of, say, Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man or Dev Patel or Robert Sheehan in The Road Within, nonetheless it’s a good performance.
The film is helped greatly by Collete and Alice Eve (Star Trek: Into Darkness, Black Mirror (TV)) as Wendy’s sister. Both are great supports to Fanning as she makes her way through the film.
Michael Golamco (best known as Story Editor on Grimm (TV)) has based the movie on his own play. It does, at times, play fast and loose with people on the autistic spectrum – at times Wendy can seem remarkably together and resourceful when previously she threw a tantrum at the smallest thing – as well as making a mockery of security at a large, well-known movie studio.
However, it is a lovely, at times, moving story and you get a bonus script thrown in as Wendy narrates her own Star Trek movie to us. Directing duties fell to Ben Lewin (Ally McBeal (TV), The Sessions), who does a good job.
Please Stand By, which are the words Scottie uses to try and calm Wendy down if she has a tantrum and something Wendy says to herself to try and prevent having a tantrum, doesn’t neccasarily have a great deal to say about Autism or how we handle people on the spectrum or how they handle themselves.
It doesn’t ask itself any big questions and nor does it try and answer any. This may not be to everyone’s taste but Please Stand By tells a nice story, in a nice way, that will have you laughing at times and moved at others.
Please Stand By may not set the world alight, but it’s a nice film that you won’t feel upset about having watched.