Stand by Me (1986) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: R for language, violence and some sexuality
Running Time: 89 min.
Cast: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, Casey Siemaszko, Richard Dreyfuss, John Cusack
Director: Rob Reiner
Screenplay: Reynold Gideon, Bruce A. Evans (based on the novella, "The Body", by Stephen King)
Review published March 6, 1998
The story: A writer (Dreyfuss, Jaws) reminisces about his journey with three of his friends to find the missing body of a dead boy when they were twelve.
Stand by Me is a simple story (based on a short story by Stephen King), dealing with the innocence of young boys just on the verge of bigger steps in life, and of the pressures of living up to the expectations of one's parents and peers. In its own quiet way, the film is effective in evoking the right tones at the right times to make the story compelling as a whole. The four young actors are brilliantly cast, with Phoenix (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sneakers) and O'Connell (Jerry Maguire, Mission to Mars) standing out in genuinely realistic performances. Director Rob Reiner (The Sure Thing, This is Spinal Tap) does a masterful job in portraying the simple and quiet life in Maine, without overly sugarcoating the soundtrack with hit songs of the time, or by being too cute for his own good. Although some have a tendency due to nostalgia to overstate how good this film really is, it is still a solid piece worthy of most of the praise it has received.
©1998 Vince Leo