Stand by me is a 1986 film about four young boys who go out in search of a dead body. Although it doesn’t sound like the most heartwarming film you’re going to have the pleasure of watching, I can guarantee that any premonition you may have will be wide off the mark.
Set in the summer of 1959, we’re presented with a reminiscent Gordie Lachance who recounts a childhood journey like no other. As a child, Gordie (Wheaton) is rejected by his family and spends most of his time around his three friends Chris (Phoenix), Vern (O’Connell) and Teddy (Feldman). Chris, who is from a family of criminals and drunks, trys to overcome the stigmas attached to him. Vern is a fat kid with a heart of gold that gets ceaselessly picked on by his three friends. And finally Teddy, the loud mouthed, eccentric member of the group, who is both mentally and physically scarred by his unstable father. Despite Teddy’s persona he is perhaps the most fragile and sensitive of all the boys.
After Vern overhears his Brother talking about the whereabouts of the body of missing child Ray Brower he and his friends decide to locate the body and become local heroes. They set out promptly with their mouths watering at the prospect of getting there pictures in the paper.
The casting is perfect and not one of the actors put a foot wrong. Unlike most films with young actors it features continuous shots containing long pieces of dialogue without cutting and trimming the scene. Each word has carefully been chosen by Bruce Evans before being Directed to perfection by Reiner. The fact that it’s based on autobiographical novella ‘The Body’, by Stephen King, makes the film even more believable. Phoenix’s untimely death has made the film far more poignant than ever intended and only adds to what is already an incredible achievement.
Four stellar performances’ provide laughs, tears and a film that will stay with you forever. Stand By Me depicts the loss of innocence and leaves you with an unanswerable question… just what is Goofy?