“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does anyone?” – Gordie Lachance
Rob Reiner’s 1986 Stand By Me is a timeless film because of its profound nostalgic presence. Adapted from Stephen King’s 1982 novella ‘The Body’, Stand By Me is a story of four friends who set out to find the dead body of a local teenager who was hit by a train.
Although I did not grow up in the 1980’s there is still a sense of nostalgia even for me and that seems to be the point of the film. You don’t need to have grown up in the 1980’s for this film to be relatable, which is what makes Stand By Me so impactful. Anyone can find something relatable with either of the four boys on their journey and that elicits this sense of longing for the past, even if you did not have that same childhood. I grew up in the age of WiFi, smartphones, and all the other nonsense of today’s world which is why I personally feel a sense of longing towards Stand By Me. It makes you wish you were there, wandering with no certainty if you were going to be okay, or if you were going to make it home alright. There is indeed something extremely freeing about uncertainty, something noble and something extraordinary. The film evoked feelings of bittersweetness, an appreciation for where you are now but a sadness that you aren’t where you used to be. It is also the feeling that you will never have times like you did when you were young as they are seemingly irreplaceable, which is what makes them so special. They are moments in time that cling to you forever, filled with memories of happiness and sadness, fear and joy, and complete utter longing.
Stand By Me is extremely symbolic, the film is not really about finding the dead boy, it is about finding themselves as we see through the four boys and their many arguments, laughs, cries, and challenges. It tells the tale of a time where things were more simple, so simple that things just seemed pure and authentic. A time in which you go outside to discover yourself, where you test yourself in order to grow. I must say as someone who did not grow up in that era, there is something freeing about the notion of having less, which on most days I wish I had. The older I get the more I truly understand and appreciate that less really is more. There seems to be more meaning, gratification, and understanding between friends whilst going on an adventure instead of sitting inside playing video games, watching TV, and being on a smartphone. There is something so profound in the simplicity of Stand By Me through it’s vibrant youthfulness and freshness. It has the ability to take you to a time in your life that you never lived and never knew you had the ability to feel nostalgic for, which I found very surprising. I simply did not expect to care much about this film as it is from a time I cannot relate to, yet it became one of, or rather the most relatable film I have ever experienced.
This film makes me question the direction we are going as a society. Are we going too far? As days go by, things seem less and less simple and become more complicated. Not in the sense of medical advancements or academic advancements, but in the sense that with a constantly growing consumerist world we grow up wanting to attain more and more, only to drift further away from what really matters. Reality feels so suffocating opposed to that of the world within Stand By Me. Surely that is a problem? Right?