Stand By Me

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Life is fragile, everything that knows life will eventually meet death; it is impossible to mention one without the other. Humans have grasped the concept of life and death more so than any other species, yet we still consider it one of the great unknowns. All man knows in regards to life, he learns from his experiences with death. Man can look to many classic and religious texts searching for the meaning of life, but the only way one can truly learn it is through experience. To many, finding happiness means first coming to terms with the finite stretch of life one has and then making the most of it. Many films try to breach the subject of the preciousness of life, but only a few seem to hit as deeply as ones told through the eyes of a child.

Stand By Me, Rob Reiner’s 1986 film, captures the beauty and fragility of human life and friendship through experiences with death. The film operates on two different levels; it serves as a coming of age story of Gordie Lachance, Vern Tessio, Teddy Duchamp, and Chris Chambers, but also as a reflection of the meanings of life and death by the Writer. The Writer serves as the narrator, looking back on the events leading up to his first encounter with a dead body. The film makes wonderful use of the five formal axes of film design to convey its powerful message: life is best enjoyed with a friend, because death is all around.

It would be impossible to discuss the literary and sound design in Stand By Me without mentioning narration that deals heavily in both axes. The Writer, serving as the narrator, provides the audience with his motivation for the story; the film begins with The Writer, pulled off in his car to the side of the road, reading the obituary of his childhood best friend Chris Cha...

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...enjoyed when in the company of others who care about you. Without sound design, literary design, visual design, cinematography, or editing, this film based upon Stephen King’s short story, “The Body” would have never come to life, or still be relevant in this day and age. The film manages to convey its themes so well that it is regarded a favorite among many viewers because the messages are easy to understand without it becoming redundant. This film has become a timeless coming-of-age story because it deals with the subjects of life and death as told through the experience of four twelve-year-old boys.

Works Cited
Stand By Me. Dir. Rob Reiner. Perf. Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell. DVD. Columbia Pictures, 1986.

"Stand By Me (1986)." The Internet Movie Database. Web. 17 Nov 2009. .

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