It (1990) was pure wish fulfillment on a certain level—a personal message from a former isolated nerd to all us other nerds who simply wanted life to be different than it really was.
In examining the enduring power of childhood friendships, and questioning the usefulness and accuracy of our adult memories, both It and Stand By Me force us to reconcile the hopefulness and potential of childhood with the often stark reality of grown-up life.
There was no shortage of enthralling female protagonists in 2019, many in films much more engaging than It Chapter Two—but Beverly Marsh is the one I keep coming back to.
On-screen, Clara Bow's remarkable strength of personality was enough to win her everything she desired. In life, it wasn’t enough to ensure happiness or agency.