Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Movie Review: "The Peanut Butter Falcon" (2019)

Movie poster for Roadside Attractions's 2019 comedy adventure film The Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Zack Gottsagen, Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Bruce Dern, Thomas Haden Church, Jon Bernthal, John Hawkes, Yelawolf, Jake Roberts, and Mick Foley
Image Source
Director: Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz
Year: 2019
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

A young man with Down syndrome escapes his care facility to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. On the road, he forms an unlikely friendship with a down-and-out fisherman who promises to help him fulfill his dream.

Movie still from the 2019 film "The Peanut Butter Falcon" where Zack Gottsagen stands in the middle of a corn field talking to Shia LaBeouf
"You will be the next badass." (Image Source)
"The Peanut Butter Falcon" is the movie we need right now for our dark, troubled times. This film is written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz in their feature film directorial debut. Zak (Zack Gottsagen) is a young man with Down syndrome who has no family. He has been placed in a retirement home by the state so he can be taken care of and watched. Zak is not happy where he is and has big dreams of one day becoming a professional wrestler like his idol The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). One evening, Zak's roommate Carl (Bruce Dern) helps him break out of the facility so he can run away to fulfill his aspirations. Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a down-on-his-luck fisherman who has a penchant for getting into trouble, goes on the run after a conflict with some other fisherman at the local dock. Tyler and Zak are thrown together and form an unlikely bond as they team up to help one another meet their goals. As they travel down the east coast, Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), an employee at the retirement home where Zak lives, is looking for him. Duncan and Ratboy (John Hawkes and Yelawolf), two spurned fishermen, are also pursuing Tyler so they can get even with him for destroying their property.
Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen step off of their makeshift raft onto a beach and have a drink in a movie still for the feel-good comedy drama film "The Peanut Butter Falcon"
"Friends are the family you choose." (Image Source)
We had heard lots of positive buzz going into "The Peanut Butter Falcon," and we were definitely not disappointed. One might think that with only a 97-minute runtime, the script would be lacking in emotional punches and/or character development, but no. This film is marvelous, heartwarming, well-developed, and funny. From the moment it begins, we found ourselves invested in Zak's journey, and we connected with his dreams on a personal level. He is the perfect example of never giving up on what you really want in life no matter the circumstances. "The Peanut Butter Falcon" also addresses what the word "family" really means. It shows that your "chosen family" may be the ones to have your best interests at heart, especially if blood relatives are willing to abandon you when times get tough. The movie also explores the differences between the ways to care for someone who is mentally handicapped. Tyler and Eleanor have two drastically different approaches when it comes to how they treat Zak. Tyler gives Zak a lot of freedom and allows him to make mistakes, get hurt, and learn to pick himself up with little to no help. He believes Zak is more capable than people give him credit for, he just hasn't been allowed to show it. Eleanor and her care facility coworkers treat Zak the opposite way. They are equivalent of "helicopter parents," people who hover around their kids and coddle them all the time because god forbid they be allowed to do anything for themselves for 20 seconds. In addition to the excellent story, the acting is superb across the board, and the chemistry between the actors is organic and believable. Zack Gottsagen is an incredibly talented actor, and we are so thrilled we got the chance to see him perform. His smile and determination are infectious and endlessly endearing. Shia LaBeouf is also wonderful as a hardened, grizzly man who has had a difficult go at life. Together, they make one hell of an odd couple, but they complement each other well. Dakota Johnson shows yet again why she should not be judged for her stint as Anastasia Steele because she has proven to be an amazing actress over the past few years. No one should fault her for making that cheddar, we certainly don't. Now, she gets to do much better projects like this one where her talents shine and where she has tremendous chemistry with her co-stars.
The Peanut Butter Falcon 2019 movie still where Zack Gottsagen, Dakota Johnson, and Shia LaBeouf watch a live wrestling match in someone's backyard
"You got a good guy heart." (Image Source)
"The Peanut Butter Falcon" is a beautiful, delightfully happy film that will make you laugh, cry, and believe. Please give it your money and time ASAP!

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.0/10
RT Rating: 95%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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