For five years, writer/directors Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz tried all they could to get this film made for their friend Zack. Years spent homeless and living in a tent. The two reaching out to whoever would listen and get shot down time after time. No one believed a movie starring someone with down syndrome could be marketable. Fast forward to now and they have released the wonderful, critically acclaimed The Peanut Butter Falcon.
The film stars Zack Gottsagen as Zak, a kid with down syndrome who dreams of being trained by his favorite professional wrestler, The Saltwater Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). After escaping from the nursing home with the help of his roommate and friend Carl (Bruce Dern), Zak sets off on an adventure to make his dreams come true.
“Friends are the family you choose.”
The Peanut Butter Falcon is one of, if not the best feel good movie of the year. There isn’t a second during the viewing that you aren’t rooting for Zak to succeed and live his life to the fullest. Knowing the background of how and why the movie was made adds even another layer of this.
Filmed in Savannah, GA, The Peanut Butter Falcon has some amazing scenery and shots throughout the film. Whether you are following our characters through a swap, river, or beach, every shot is framed and lit beautifully. The landscape and area come to life and the hot, beautiful land almost becomes a secondary character in the movie.
Another aspect that helps bring that setting to life is the score throughout the film. We get a southern banjo inspired score at times that really give off that hot and gritty southern vibe. Then at other times with Zak there’s a fairytale esque score that gives off this feeling of joy and magic. The music really does an amazing job at holding the film together.
Not only is it shot and scored beautifully, but the performances given in the film are amazing all around. Dakota Johnson does a great job as Eleanor, the caretaker who is on the search for the missing Zak. The real standouts of the film though were Shia LaBeouf and Zack. Individually they gave star making performances but it’s their chemistry that really holds this movie up. Acting as if they have known each other their whole lives, these strangers come together and attach to each other in the most endearing way.
“What’s rule number one?”
For first time writers and directors, they did an amazing job at bringing so many elements together and blending them almost perfectly. This is the type of small original film that deserves all the success in the world for the work and effort put into it. The Peanut Butter Falcon is a heartwarming, funny, emotional film that should be supported and seen in the theaters. If you get a chance, definitely go check it out!
Overall Score 4.5/5
The Shameless Plugs
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