Stand By Me Film Review

Essay by preetkaur May 2009

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Director: Rob ReinerStars: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Jerry O’Connell, Corey FeldmanLength: 85 MinutesGenre: Comedy, adventureAge Certificate: 15Star rating:Based on Stephen King’s novella ‘The Body’, director Rob Reiner's Stand by Me is the disarmingly tender and subtly uplifting story of four pre-pubescent kids who embark upon a quest.

This coming of age film is a mix of fun, adventure and thrills when the four boys search for fame by looking for a dead body. However, the stakes are upped when the bad kids in town are closely tailing and it becomes a race to see who’ll be able to recover the body first, but will it all end in conflict?Rob Reiner creates the characters brilliantly by appealing them to the adult audience reminiscing about their own childhood. The plot mainly revolves around Gordie LaChance (Wil Wheaton) who has come to terms with his older brother Denny’s death. His best friend, Chris (River Phoenix), toughens his image in order to hide the pain from the physical pain he endures at home.

To complete the foursome are Vern (Jerry O’Connell), the chubby tag-a-long and Teddy (Corey Feldman), a funny but troubled kid with a death wish.

This 1950s atmosphere is brought together by the music in the background which is sung by the wonderful Ben. E. King. It really gives you a feel for the film and goes perfectly with the theme of it. I was very impressed by the way Reiner uses the music cleverly to create the tension in some of the scenes.

One of the most phenomenal parts in the film was the train scene. The way Reiner uses the music to build up the atmosphere is done amazingly! The shots and camera angles used really give you the sense of fear that the characters are going through. Even at the end, the mood lightens up with a ‘corny’ joke just to keep the lively tone going and to break up the tension.

Rob Reiner skilfully uses a lot of symbols in this film like the dead body, which symbolizes reality and helps Gordie come to terms with his brother’s death. It gives the audience a brief summary of all the characters past and what each of the things mean to them. It also helps them find out more about themselves along the way after facing their own inner problems.

This ‘feel good’ movie also has deeper messages throughout it, other than entertainment. It deals with themes such as death and friendship but quickly changes into conflict and growing up.

Stand By Me is a wonderful film about friendship and staying together. It would appeal to a family audience, although parents may wince at some of the language used in places! The quality of the film is fantastic and is highly recommended.