2013 / Director. DJ Caruso.
Review By Glenn Cochrane.
If some kids come away from STANDING UP thinking about the way they treat others, then the film's work is done. Sadly I can't imagine the film resonating with that demographic as much as it would hope to. Set in 1984 it tells the story of two tweens who are victimized at a summer camp. They are taken to an island on the lake, stripped naked and left stranded. They are left humiliated and terrified and so traumatised that they refuse to return. Instead they wander into the woods, searching for a way home... or at least to safety. In the mean time they form a bond and become pillars of strength to each other. Through their adventure they form a resilience and an inner strength that sees them grow into young adults. It is a lovely film with a lot for young people to take away from. Whether bullies themselves or defenseless victims, this movie speaks to it's audience and invites them to reflect on their own lives. There are times throughout the film when some of the secondary characters seem contrived and forced, but they go as quickly as they come and don't really upset the comfortable and meandering nature of the story. The two lead kids are wonderful and offer up sincere and heartfelt performances. Radha Mitchell provides a strong support as the mother of the lost girl who realises her own faults and drops her busy life to find the kids. If anything I don't think her character was given as much room as she deserved. I would like to have seen her take on the camp officials much more than she actually did. Nevertheless, her daughter's well being was first and foremost, as it should be. This movie is a huge departure for director DJ Caruso too. He's a filmmaker known for high concept movies like I AM NUMBER 4, EAGLE EYE and DISTURBIA. Apparently he had been trying the make STANDING UP for over ten years and ended up doing so for a measly $4M. He's done a wonderful job of it and proves himself to be a versatile director.