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Based on one of the most beloved Young Adult novels of all time: Two kids are stripped naked and left together on an island in a lake - victims of a vicious summer camp prank; But rather than have to return to camp and face the humiliation, they decide to take off, on the run together. What follows is a three day odyssey of discovery and self-discovery. Written by
A long time passion project, Caruso first read the book in 1990. But it wasn't until 2000 that he started developing the project with producer Ken Aguado. See more »
When the kids for the other camp are getting on the buses, two girls (one wearing a blue-striped halter top and jean shorts, and one wearing a purple T-shirt and plaid shorts) get on the bus in two separate shots. See more »
A wonderful warm film that is heart felt and sure to make tears flow.
This is a story about two outcasts named Howie (played by Chandler Canterbury) and Grace (played by Annalise Basso) who find each other late one night stranded on Goats Island. These two harmless and timid 12 year olds have been chosen by the camp bullies to be taken by canoes a mile from their campsite and dropped off in the dark of night but not before they are both stripped naked, their clothes absconded with and mocked at as the bullies take off in their canoes laughing at being successful in finding this year's new "goats". These bullies see this as an annual rite of passage to pick on weaker children who are unable to defend themselves and embarrass them with their sick plan to strip them of any ounce of dignity that even their clothes would protect them from.
Grace is beside herself in total fear wondering how she ever allowed herself to get caught up in this embarrassing situation with a boy (Howie) she has never met before. How will she ever live with this embarrassment? Well, Howie who may also be very meek and sees that the canoes are returning to subject the two naked "goats" to more taunting tells Grace that he for one is not going to take any more of their crap and if she wants to avoid any further bullying they need to vacate Goats Island immediately. Reluctantly even though she cannot swim she believes she has a greater chance of getting through this ordeal with the assistance of the other "goat", Howie.
Upon reaching dry land and still naked and covered only by a blanket their adventure begins. Grace is able to reach her mother Meg (played by Radha Mitchell) while she is in the middle of an important meeting and Grace cries uncontrollably begging for her mother to come pick them both up. She tells her mom that Howie needs to leave with them since Howie has told Grace his parents are archeologists and they are overseas in Greece on an excavation. Meg tells her daughter that the reason she sent her to this camp is to toughen her up and to make some new friends. The tragedy of these circumstances are that although the events may differ from child to child the trauma young preadolescents endure could be mitigated earlier if only parents would listen and focus on their child first and not on their careers.
I commend director D J Caruso for compiling a very moving and endearing film that allows each of us to relate to these two preadolescent children and the fear that their bullies (especially in groups) can overwhelm them with. Who amongst us has not been challenged at some time in our young lives by their own bully and were we as brave as these two young children were? This is a beautiful coming of age adventure film which takes place over a four day span and how these two children learn how to grow up quickly if they want to survive in the woods surrounded by water. The kids run into other bullies along their journey but are now more resilient and willing to stand up for one another. There is a dramatic scene when Grace is on the phone with her mother Meg, and Meg tells Grace that she will do what she can to help young Howie too. I give the film a perfect 10 and if I could give Standing Up a point for every tear I dropped over a number of heartbreaking scenes by these two fine young actors (Chandler Canterbury and Annalise Basso) I would. I don't know how this film was not a box office bonanza but I for one give it two thumbs up!!
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