The film is based on the popular children’s book The Goats by Brock Cole. The movie starts off in the middle of the action, with a hazing at night, which leaves the two young outcasts, “the goats,” naked and scared on an island near camp. But instead of remaining for further ogling and humiliation by their tormentors, the two escape, and take off through the surrounding woods, hoping to delay their return to camp until Parents Weekend, when Grace’s mom (Radha Mitchell) will arrive.
|Grace (Annalise Basso) and Howie (Chandler Canterbury) on the run|
Standing Up shares some similarities with Moonrise Kingdom, which also featured two misunderstood kids taking off on their own to have an adventure. But where Moonrise Kingdom was more of a quirky romance, Standing Up is focused on the kids facing their fears and getting past their bullying experience. Val Kilmer shows up along the way, as a local sheriff who may or may not be there to help them.
Director D.J. Caruso (I Am Number Four, Taking Lives, The Salton Sea), who also wrote the screenplay, keeps things simple, concentrating on the kids and the environment in which they find themselves. The kids are quite engaging, with Chandler Canterbury especially a stand-out as the clever and enterprising young Howie. The night scenes look a little dark at times, but the exterior daytime scenes featuring their trek through the woods and in town look great on a large-scale high-definition television. The film has an aspect ratio of 16×9, with Dolby Digital 5.1 and a 90-minute running time. Extras include a behind-the-scenes feature on the making of the movie, and the theatrical trailer.
Standing Up should be popular with kids and adults alike. Although it takes a tough stand against bullying, it does it with humor and ingenuity. Kids will love the journey that Grace and Howie take, and parents and teachers should like how they resolve their problems and grow up along the way. A true coming-of-age film with a heart, Standing Up hits all the right notes.
Article first published on Blogcritics: DVD Review: ‘Standing Up’