Aronne Ibarra’s review published on Letterboxd:
What a classic and excellent adventure coming-of-age film this is! Had a fun time watching this one.
There's an indescribable warmth enveloping this movie. All the characters are special and unique, and all of them are played surprisingly marvelously by all of the young actors. I was damn nervous before seeing it, as I generally dislike child performances in film, but this group of boys were just so good. This movie also gave me a good dose of nostalgia for a time I wasn't even born yet. There's just something about being able to go out with your friends and going on a trip to the woods. Yeah, I fancy that, instead of being stuck indoors in these challenging times. Man, I miss going out!
The characters are likable and we grow with them as they journey closer and closer to the body. Encounters with dogs, petty theft, trains on bridges, gangsters, and leeches are all unforgettable. The bond between these boys grow as they survive each hurdle.
But beneath all this fun adventure and heartwarming thrills lies a valuable and very real message. 'For some, it's the last real taste of innocence, and the first real taste of life', it reads on the tagline at the top of the film's LB page, and it's damn on point.
Coming together and going on a trip of a lifetime is the pinnacle of childhood wonder. Becoming famous and setting all these plans, playing with gun, premature smoking; all these things are fascinating and harmless in the world inside the mind of a young man. And Stand By Me shows that, but it also shows the coldness and harshness of the reality of life and the world. Somebody could get hurt, somebody could get killed, somebody might just be another dead body to find. Things simply don't work out so perfectly as in a young child's mind. Life is unpredictable, life is hard; and there's a lot more ahead for all of us, and we must put fun and games away when the time comes. But at the end of the day, while we live in the present, we gravitate towards the colorful past and we remember all our friends and memories. I've got a feeling I'll only be liking this a lot more as I get older.