Starring: Chandler Canterbury, Annalise Basso,
Director: D.J. Caruso
Based on the beloved children’s book “The Goats” by Brock Cole comes Standing up. Written for the screen and directed by D.J. Caruso (Disturbia, Eagle Eye) Howie and Grace are two camp outcasts who are victims of a camp prank which involves taking the weakest member of the boy’s camp and the girls camp to Goat island, once there stripping them nude and stranding them there. When the other camp members come back to pick them up Howie believes they have come back to torture and harass them some more. Refusing to continue to be a victim Howie and Grace sneak away under the cover of darkness, to swim back ashore. Now back on the mainland stranded, with no clothes and no idea where they are, the pair begin a journey that through the hardships brings out the best in each other.
The strength of a coming of age story regarding geeky kids who are bullied and find strength in their resolve, lies in their likability. There is more to Howie and Grace than just their oversized glasses and inability to make friends. These are two kids who have been singled out for no particular reason and through a series of adventures learn to come out of their shells and become the person always wanted to be. They don’t change who they are on the inside they become a better version of themselves. These are two crafty kids who are more self reliant than anyone thought including themselves. They scam a motel room, steal clothes, break into a cabin escape from a deputy and make friends at a different camp all through sheer will.
Caruso not only brings to screen a seminal novel, he delivers it in such a way that it is never heavy handed. This is the rare film that is not just suitable for all ages but enjoyable as well. Although the material is family friendly this isn’t a Hallmark special. Accompanied by a sweeping score by Brian Taylor that works to pull the water out of your eyes. Rising Up is the rare film that shines a light on personal resolve and not getting beaten down by being a victim. You never know what you have in you till you are forced to test yourself.