Stand by Me Review Essay

I choose Stand by Me for my movie review because it is a very emotional movie. Not only recounts a childhood story, but it also is the image of a generation’s mature. Stand by Me is a coming of age drama movie directed by Rob Reiner in 1986, adapted from Stephen King’s story The Body. The movie takes its title from the Ben E. King song of the same name. Stand by Me is the story of four boys twelve years old living in a small town of Castle Rock, Oregon in the early 1960s, whose lives were changed by an adventure through the woodlands near their homes to find the dead body of a missing boy that they embarked on at the end of the summer.

The story is told by the main character Gordie Lachance who is a middle-aged writer. After reading a newspaper about the death of his friend – Chris Chambers, he muses about the time when they were twelve. Gordie, Chris, Teddy Duchamp and Vern Tessio are an inseparable foursome. They are in the final days before entering high school. Vern overhears his older brother talk of the dead body’s location of a missing boy from town. By the thought seeing a real dead body and the wish of becoming famous, the boys decide to go to find it.

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The journey starts with the first difficulty, no one brings food and they have very little money. This leads to the first adventure as Gordie is elected to buy food, but must sneak through the junkyard. However, they are discovered by the junkyard owner – Milo Pressman who sics his dog on them. Later they run out a train bridge, Vern and Gordie are nearly run over by passing train. At the night, the boys set up camp, Gordie tells the boys a story and Chris reveals to Gordie his fear of being stereotyped as a criminal. They continue have a traumatic experience with leeches when they take a shortcut through a swamp.

Meanwhile, Ace Merrill, leader of an older gang of town kids, also knows the dead body and decides to find it. The movie comes to its climax point when the two groups fight at the site of the dead body. Ace pulls a knife on Chris and Gordie threatens Ace with a Chris’s handgun. Gordie points it at Ace, which chills him and scares him away with his group. This shows that traits of friendship are loyalty, acceptance, camaraderie, and the courage to stand by each other in the face of adversity. Gordie then decides that no one will get credit for finding the dead body and reports it by an anonymous phone to the authorities.

They return to Castle Rock and say goodbye to each other. Along the way, the boys experience many difficulties which reveal the past and the present struggles of them. Chris is from a family of criminals and alcoholics. Chris is stereotyped because of his family. However, he proves to be intelligent, brave, the natural leader of the group and has a desire to break his stereotype. He becomes a lawyer. However, Chris was recently killed because of the way he had lived, bravely intervening during an altercation in a restaurant, and suffering a knife wound for his efforts.

Teddy is the son of an emotionally disturbed war veteran who has abused him all his life. Teddy cannot accept his situation, so he has created a fantasy world where his father is an American war hero instead of an inmate in a mental hospital. Teddy tries to join the Army, but is refused entry because of his poor eyesight and ear injury. He eventually served jail time and now is doing odd jobs around town. Vern who is overweight, timid, and often picked on. Vern later marries straight out of high school, has four children and become a forklift driver.

Gordie is a quiet, bookish boy with a fondness for telling stories and writing. He is rejected by his father, following the death of his older brother – rugby athlete Denny who interests in him more than their parents. The end of the story reveals that Gordie has become a writer and we have just witnessed the story as he was writing it. Stand by Me makes me laugh, cry, happy and fear with Chris, Gordie, Teddy and Vern and makes me ache for my childhood memories. Damian (1997) states “Stand by Me is certain to revive childhood memories, which is a fine objective, but beyond this remains a singularly human experience”.

There is a pure, sincere and real sense of friendship that permeates the whole movie. I wished I had had friends like that and had adventures like that. I especially love the closing monologue “I never had any friends later on, like the ones I had when I was twelve… Jesus…. does anyone? “. Rotten (2011) also said that line at the end on computer screen resonated in everyone and it was one of the most poignant and truthful line he could remember in any film. I think this movie is for everyone and everyone will have the same emotions as I did when watching this movie.

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