“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a movie that warms the heart and soul – and makes you feel a little better about humanity once you leave the theater. It shows the audience what true friendship is about and how true friends can be as close as family.
The film tells the story of Zak (Zack Gottsagen), who is a young man with Down syndrome. With no family to take care of him, the state has placed him in a retirement home. Unhappy about his situation, Zak decides to take every opportunity to escape and follow his dream to become a professional wrestler. He sets upon this goal after watching a wrestling tape that featured his hero, the Saltwater Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). One night, Zak successfully escapes the retirement home through his bedroom window and sets off to North Carolina to Saltwater’s wrestling school.
On his way to the wrestling school, Zak meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) on the side of the road. Like Zak, Tyler is a man on the run – not from a place but from the decisions he made and his inability to find peace with the past.
What makes “The Peanut Butter Falcon” work is the relationship that the characters have with each other. Unlike a lot of films where the connection between the characters seems fake, Falcon’s characters showed vibrant emotions to reach their audience.
The relationship between Zak and Tyler at first seems to be one of practicality as each needed someone to travel with and help along. Through the journey, the relationship changes as they trek across the countryside and navigate a river on a raft. They share memories, provide encouragement and build each other’s confidence up.
Zak shows Tyler, just by being himself with his kind nature, that it is OK to let people into your life and care once again. This lesson is a tough one for Tyler to take hold of as he is still grieving the passing of his brother. But, as time passes, the two become friends and, later, family.
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a movie that can make you laugh, cry and smile all in a single scene. To me, that speaks to the talent of the writers to craft such a powerful narrative. It is refreshing to see a new story on the big screen instead of a remake, another sequel or superhero movie. Good writing, editing and acting serve to make a lasting impression instead of films only made as a cash grab.
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a superb film and a must-see before it leaves theaters. I give it 10 out of 10 stars. It is rated PG-13 and runs 93 minutes.
For more information about this film, go to its website at www.thepeanutbutterfalconmovie.com/home.