Emily Mody - Stand!

Posted on Thursday, November 28, 2019 at 05:00 PM


Review by Emily Mody x CalgaryMovies.com

Stand! is a feature length, musical film directed by Robert Adetuyi. The story takes place in 1919 during the general workers strike in Winnipeg. Stefan (played by Marshall Williams), a Ukrainian man, immegrates to Canada with his father (played by Gregg Henry). While working hard to establish a living wage and reunite with their family, Stefan falls for a fiery neighbor, Rebecca (played by Laura Wiggins). Also an immigrant and struggling to earn a living wage, the two along with Rebecca’s brother Moishe (played by Tristan Carlucci) decide to rally the workers to strike, much to the chagrin of Stefan’s father. As the workers struggle to endure the forces that push back against them, they learn about love and loyalty.

This film felt very theatrical. Considering that Stand is a musical I expected a certain degree of theatricality but this superseded those expectations. I actually still do not understand why this story was made into a film. The sets feel two dimensional. The story action and music are completely character driven. There is no interesting cinematic work here (camera work, lighting, editing, etc.). Everything is as one would expect from a theatre production, not a film. Overall, I think the story is strong. I do think there is something slightly amiss with how the film felt so strongly like a theatre production however. The goal may have been to create a feeling similar to classic Hollywood films but, if that is the case, that goal is not fully realized. I also think the acting could have been better although I did enjoy Emma Jones (played by Lisa Bell) and Gregg Henry. Bell is both a very gifted actor and gifted musically. I wished to see more of her story.

Stand reminds me of the classic style of Singin’ In The Rain directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen without the dancing or humour. Stand is much more serious tonally. There are one or two moments where the song lyrics come across as comical but these moments felt so out of place that I actually did not know how to respond. I think that Singin’ In The Rain is exceptional because it captures the quality of feeling light hearted so effortlessly. Stand also successfully capture its own qualities. I think the hopelessness and ultimately the empowerment that stems from banning together to take down oppressors is well conveyed. I am just not certain that this story needed to be made into a film. Perhaps, if you are mainly interested in the story and not the filmic elements you will enjoy Stand.

Stand is 110 minutes long. It is rated PG for some violence and coarse language. If you are interested in musicals with a more theatrical tendency or if you are interested in learning more about Canadian history then you may have something to gain from this story.  

Calgary Showtimes: Stand! >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.