Standing Up tells the story of a boy and a girl, ages 11 and 12, who are ostracized by their peer groups at summer camp. The outsiders soon find themselves victims of a vicious prank, but rather than returning to camp to face the humiliation, they decide to take off on the run together. As they slowly navigate what lies ahead, they develop a bond and help each other overcome adversity and start down the path of self-discovery.
Directed by D.J Caruso, Standing Up is not like his usual area of filmmaking, there are no gunfights, no fast speed car chases and no hand to hand combat. Instead there is a tale of growing up from the perspective of two kids who have much more in common than even they realise. While not quite as perceptive as it believes it is, Standing Up is witty and it understands its characters which is more than enough.
The film follows Howie (Chandler Canterbury) and Grace (Annalise Basso), two introverted kids who are abandoned on an island off the mainland when they are at camp and must band together to get back to their respective lives. On their adventure they face bullies, those looking for them and their own families as they try to stay away from the camp and the people that left them in this position in the first place.
While both Howie and Grace fear returning to the camp that pushed them away their reasons couldn’t be more different. The film cleverly keeps most its cards hidden until later into the film so that audiences can enjoy a light hearted child romp, something that is broken and changed at the start of the 3rd act as the film becomes a lot more real and affecting.
Basso makes Grace a vibrant young girl full of fear but also brings out a little of Grace’s self centred nature to round her out. Canterbury however makes Howie out to be the hero of the piece despite his raging self pity, something that spews out in waves during the film’s overly emotional ending.
In fact Caruso overindulges in meet cutes and other gimmicks in this tale but the heart of the tale stays in Caruso’ script, one that plays with Grace and Howie’s differences and their similarities. The adventure the two share is light yet game changing for both of them. A cameo by Radha Mitchell as Grace’s mother further emphasises the similarities between the two in a film more about coming together despite the film's opening salvo of driving people apart
You rated this film: 3
George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
Classification is to be confirmed by the British Board of Film Classification