Please Stand By

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

IMDB genericizes this as Comedy/Drama, which I guess is accurate enough. Netflix's rating algorithm also thought I'd like it, and it was also accurate.

Wendy, played by Dakota Fanning, is autistic. Although I'm not a doctor, I'd say she's a low-functioning autistic. She lives in a San Francisco group home, where she gets supported by sympathetic Scottie (Toni Collette). Her sister Audrey (Alice Eve) has placed her there, worried about whether her autism might bring harm to infant daughter Ruby.

But Wendy (like many autistics) has an unexpected gift. She's a good writer. And a Trekkie. And when Paramount offers a contest to write a script for the next Star Trek movie, she's all over it like a tribble on quadrotriticale.

Unfortunately, she lets things go right up until the deadline. And due to unforeseen circumstance, she realizes that the script can't reach Paramount via mail on time. And so she sets out on an Unauthorized Autistic Odyssey to Hollywood, where she can drop off the massive script in person.

Needless to say, things don't go smoothly.

A few random thoughts:

  • We don't get the entire plot of Wendy's script, but from the quoted snippets, I would totally go see the Star Trek movie based thereupon.

  • For those of us used to seeing Dakota Fanning back when she was a child actress, … well, she's all grown up now, playing big-girl roles.

  • It would be easy to make a "problematic" movie with autism as a plot device, but it seems to me that Wendy's disability was treated with sympathy and respect. I haven't researched to find if it angered activists, though. Because I don't care.

  • The movie relies on a lictor ex machina, in the person of Patton Oswalt, who just happens to be… nope, that would be a unnecessary spoiler.

In short, a good watchable movie.