Reviews of movies and TV focused on women

Review: Please Stand By. Or – Boldly Go.

Dakota Fanning in Please Stand By

Please Stand By is a heartwarming story about an autistic girl who writes a Star Trek script. She takes remarkably brave steps in order to get it turned in on time. Dakota Fanning stars.

Please Stand By has an interesting cast. Lots of well known faces in tiny parts. The major role was Dakota Fanning as Wendy. She lived in a group home for autistic young people. Toni Collette played Scottie, who worked with this group of adults to help them learn to function in society.

Wendy was doing well. She had a job, she knew her routine. And she wrote a 427 page script for a Star Wars contest. Wendy’s sister Audrey (Alice Eve) came to visit one day.

Wendy tried to explain to Audrey that she needed to mail her script immediately to get it there on time and that she was ready to go home and live with Audrey and her new baby.

Dakota Fanning in Please Stand By

When Audrey said that wasn’t possible Wendy had a meltdown. The script didn’t get mailed.

By morning, a desperate Wendy was on her way from San Francisco to LA by bus to turn in her script in person. Except she had no idea how to do it. She didn’t know how to find the right bus or buy a ticket. Her dog Pete followed her and got her kicked off the bus when he peed on the floor. She was robbed and cheated. Nobody would give her a break in any way.

Toni Collette in Please Stand By

Scottie searched for her everywhere. She finally called Audrey and the police. Eventually, Scottie realized that Wendy must be headed for LA with her script. She told Audrey that’s what she thought was happening.

Alice Eve in Please Stand By

Audrey took off for L.A. She left her baby at home with minimal instructions to her husband and raced for the highway.

Scottie grabbed her teen age son and they headed for LA, too. They found traces of Wendy in bus stations, in a hospital, but they couldn’t find her. Her resourcefulness was amazing, especially since everything around her was noisy and problematic.

Dakota Fanning and Patton Oswalt in Please Stand By

Finally two LA cops looking at a missing person report spotted her. They were played by Patton Oswalt and Robin Weigert. Officer Frank (Oswalt) gained her trust by speaking to her in Klingon.

Audrey and Scottie arrived to get her. But Wendy still needed to turn in the script. If she made it in time, would it win?

Dakota Fanning did a decent job as the autistic Wendy. There were times when she wasn’t totally convincing, but she was convincing enough to make it a heart thumping adventure.

I mentioned the cast. A few of the bit parts were filled by Marla Gibbs, Stephanie Allynne, and Laura Innes. It was a big cast, and a treat to see familiar faces here and there.

You can see Please Stand By on Prime Video. Ben Lewin directed this charming film. It’s a few years old, but if you haven’t already seen it, it’s worth looking for.

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