Four youngsters hike across country to find the body of a missing boy.
A right of passage drama based on a novella by Stephen King, Stand By Me is an affectionate snapshot of boyhood and life in fifties America. Much loved by many, I found this film to be rather lightweight in content, being overly reliant on its likeable leads and an enjoyable soundtrack of contemporary hits. It does have a nice sense of period and director Rob Reiner shows a sensitive hand with his actors coaxing fairly believable performances from his young charges. The flaws for me were in the script; River Phoenix character seems rather too responsible and adult for a twelve year old which also gives his pivotal scenes with Wil Wheaton a rather disturbing Brokeback vibe. The attempts at insight and depth also felt very clumsy and trite, content with some very superficial pop psychology rather than showing any true depth.
It’s an inoffensive slice of popular Americana, but quite why it is the subject of such adoration I’m not quite sure. One for my personal “I don’t get it” file I suspect.