tek's rating:

Please Stand By (PG-13)
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This was released in 2018, but I don't recall having heard of it until I came across it in Hulu's movie suggestions in 2021. (But apparently I had heard of it before, because after watching the movie I found it on one of my "movies I want to watch" pages.) I decided to watch it because it stars Dakota Fanning and because it involves Star Trek. I didn't know until I started watching it that it also involves autism, a subject that is of interest to me because I suffer from it myself, though to a milder degree than Fanning's character, Wendy Welcott. Apparently the movie got mixed reviews (it's rotten on Rotten Tomatoes), but personally I liked it a lot. I definitely identified with a lot of Wendy's struggles, even though they would have been somewhat easier for me to deal with. (Not actually easy, mind you, just easier.) So I felt strongly for her (though I'd like to think I would have done so even if I were neurotypical), and felt both sorrow at her misfortunes and joy at her triumphs.

Anyway... Wendy lives in an assisted living home, which is overseen by a woman named Scottie (Toni Collette). She also has an older sister named Audrey (Alice Eve), who had to look after her when their single mother died. But eventually Wendy's difficulties and occasional tantrums became too much for her to deal with, particularly after she got married and had a baby. Wendy would like to live with Audrey, and to meet her niece, Ruby, but Audrey doesn't believe Wendy is ready for that yet. She also believes Wendy could potentially pose a danger to her baby. But the main plot of the movie is that Wendy is a major Star Trek fan, and has written a screenplay for a writing contest held by Paramount Pictures. When it gets to be too late to mail it, she runs away from the home to deliver it personally. However, that means she has to get from Oakland to Los Angeles, by herself. When Scottie discovers Wendy has gone missing, both she and Audrey do all they can to try to find her. Scottie is accompanied by her son, Sam, who is also a Star Trek fan, though Scottie doesn't know anything about it, which made it difficult for her when Wendy asked her to read her script. (There's one point where she confuses Star Trek with Star Wars, which I would say is a common trope among non-science fiction fans. But it seemed odd to me because just a little while earlier she had talked to a nurse on the phone and asked about a dog wearing a Star Trek uniform, so I don't know why she got it wrong later when talking with Sam.)

Well, I don't want to go into details of all the stuff that happened to Wendy as she traveled toward L.A., but she had some ups and some major downs along the way. And eventually she's helped by a cop played by Patton Oswalt, who also happens to be a Trek fan. (He and Wendy both speak Klingon, which I thought was a neat touch, even though I'm sure the vast majority of Star Trek fans aren't actually fluent in the language. I myself have a couple of Klingon dictionaries, but I would never have the patience or powers of retention to be able to learn the language.) Anyway, I don't know what else to tell you, except that the movie has only a partially happy ending. But happy enough, I guess.

Oh yeah, and "please stand by" is a phrase Scottie would use to calm Wendy down during panic attacks, and which Wendy uses to calm herself down.

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