Please Stand By

Please Stand By is a 2017 American comedy-drama film directed by Ben Lewin and based on the 2008 short play of the same name by Michael Golamco, who also wrote the screenplay. The film stars Dakota Fanning, Toni Collette, Alice Eve, River Alexander, and Patton Oswalt, and was distributed by Magnolia Pictures. After playing at various film festivals, the film was simultaneously released theatrically and on-demand on January 26, 2018.

Please Stand By
Theatrical release poster; the hand gesture is a Vulcan salute
Directed byBen Lewin
Produced by
Screenplay byMichael Golamco
Based onPlease Stand By
by Michael Golamco
Music byHeitor Pereira
CinematographyGeoffrey Simpson
Edited byLisa Bromwell
Allegiance Theater
2929 Productions
Distributed byMagnolia Pictures
Release date
  • October 27, 2017 (2017-10-27) (Austin)
  • January 26, 2018 (2018-01-26) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$404,356[1]


Wendy (Dakota Fanning)—a brilliant young woman with autism and a fixation on Star Trek—lives a routine life in an Oakland, California group home where she is monitored by her primary caregiver, Scottie (Toni Collette). She spends her time writing a 450-page Star Trek script to enter in Paramount Pictures' screenwriting contest in hopes of winning the $100,000 prize.

Wendy is visited by her sister Audrey (Alice Eve), who shows Wendy pictures of her infant daughter, Ruby, and reveals that she is selling their childhood home. Wendy asks Audrey to take her home, arguing that she will be able to buy back the house and help Audrey care for Ruby once she wins the screenwriting contest. Audrey refuses, telling Wendy she isn't capable of caring for a baby. Wendy has a meltdown and Audrey leaves in tears.

After Wendy misses the mail-in date to send her script to Paramount, she decides to deliver the script herself. She leaves the group home early the next morning and is followed by the group home's small dog, Pete. Wendy and Pete board a bus to Los Angeles, but are kicked off and left by the side of the road after Pete urinates in the bus. Wendy then wanders into a shanty town, where she is mugged of most of her money. She then wanders to a nearby shop and is nearly swindled out of the last of her money by an employee. An elderly woman named Rose (Marla Gibbs) intervenes to stop the employee from exploiting Wendy. Rose sympathizes with Wendy as her grandson also has autism, and lets Wendy accompany her on the senior citizens' bus. The bus driver subsequently falls asleep at the wheel, crashing the bus.

Following the bus crash, Wendy wakes up in a hospital in Bakersfield. Still determined to turn in her script, Wendy leaves Pete at the hospital, attacks a nurse, and escapes. During her escape, Wendy loses part of her script. She gathers used paper and begins rewriting the script.

Simultaneously, Audrey and Scottie have realized Wendy is missing. They begin to search for her and file a missing persons report. After correctly deducing that Wendy left for Los Angeles to personally deliver her script, Scottie and her son Sam (River Alexander) set out on the road. The Bakersfield hospital notifies Scottie and Audrey of Wendy’s whereabouts; police continue the search from there. Sam and Scottie find the missing script pages while scouring the hospital.

Wendy then attempts to buy a bus ticket to Los Angeles, but is unable as she has no money. She ultimately stows away on the next bus to Los Angeles, hiding herself inside a baggage compartment. Upon her arrival in Los Angeles, Wendy wanders around until two police officers recognize her from the missing person’s report. Officer Frank (Patton Oswalt) gains Wendy's trust by speaking to her in Klingon. The officers take Wendy to the police station, where she is reunited with Audrey and Scottie. They bring Wendy to Paramount Pictures so she can deliver her script.

Despite being stonewalled by a rude mailroom worker, Wendy is able to sneak past security and submit the script to the turn-in box. Satisfied that she has completed her mission, Wendy tells her sister she did it to prove that she was more capable than Audrey thought. Wendy returns back to the group home where she later receives a letter from Paramount stating her script was not chosen, but encouraging her to continue writing. Despite the rejection, she is satisfied with everything she has accomplished. Wendy visits Audrey and holds her niece for the first time.



Box office

Please Stand By has grossed $9,868 in the United States and Canada, and $394,488 in other territories, for a total worldwide of $404,356. Sales of its DVD/Blu-ray releases have cashed $103,444.[1]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 59% based on 37 reviews, and an average rating of 5.88/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Please Stand By hits a number of familiar coming-of-age beats, but adds just enough of a Trek-fueled twist to keep things interesting."[2] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[3]


  1. "Please Stand By (2018)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  2. "Please Stand By (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  3. "Please Stand By Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
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