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Home > Written Reviews, Written Reviews > “Peanut Butter Falcon” The Journey Begins

“Peanut Butter Falcon” The Journey Begins

 

 

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

A very cool film that makes you feel good The Peanut Butter Falcon opens this weekend and it’s a charmer. It’s a fun film that takes you inside a person with Down syndrome and shows his tenacity and determination to break free from the norm to face his ambitions. Lovable, heartfelt and totally awesome, the movie opens this weekend.

Zak (Zack Gottsagen) has been placed in a nursing home because there are no other facilities available. He lives among the residents that need extra care for their elderly needs. But, he’s found a dream with the help of Carl (Bruce Dern) a resident at the facility who has befriended Zak. They watch the same video tape of wrestling many times a day and Zak is determined to become one of the sport’s participants.

Zack Gottsagen in THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON Photo Credit Nigel Bluck Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Armory Films

One day Zak after an attempt to get out of the home and follow his dream, Carl sees that the young man has become disturbed. His patient advocate Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) is in fear that he will hurt himself if he escapes again, so she makes him a flight risk remanding him to a room with bars on the windows. That night Carl helps him get out of the facility and Zak runs for his freedom. When he meets Tyler (Shia Le Beouf), a broken man dealing with the death of his brother, the two start out on a journey to mend each other and rid their angst for a better life.

It’s an excellent film that shows that when you have a vision of who you want to be, then why not give it one hell of a try. Directed and written Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, the movie plays out with adventure similar to a Mark Twain journey much resembling a bit of Huck Finn. Although it’s one way to look at it, the movie also searches for a place in your heart and shows inspiration for everyone.

Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson in THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON Photo Credit Nigel Bluck Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Armory Films

The journey of Zack and Tyler is a tough one to make as it’s like walking on egg shells where one can easily pop one or several leaving you with nothing. I’m totally taken by the film and am happily surprised at Nilson and Schwartz’s foresight, treatment and delivery of the delicate subject matter. It’s a winner in my book, much like films dealing with similar handicaps like The Other Sister (1999) and Champions (2018) to name a couple.

The acting under the direction of Nilson and Schwartz is impeccable and even astounding at times. Playing the central character Zak, Zack Gottsagen adds to his budding career with an excellent performance as the coming of age young man who won’t let his disability come between achieving his dream. Formerly with several minor acting credits, here he shows professional eminence with his depiction of Zak. His performance makes you want to see the film again and again

Zack Gottsagen, Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson in THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON Photo Credit Nigel Bluck Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Armory Films

Shia Le Beouf puts his best acting forward, that has been a bit missing of late, and aces the role of Tyler. He shows Tyler as a bit selfish, but reveals the reasons when you learn about his past and the daemons with which he’s dealing. Caught up in a dead end life, his Tyler needs a key to his release from the nightmares. The chemistry that builds between Zack and Shia feels real and genuine and for that it should be recognized when the Oscar nominations come around.

Dakota Johnson does a good job in support as Eleanor who has jurisdiction over Zak’s stay at the nursing home. It’s a tough role because she has to be strict and yet compassionate. It’s the latter of which develops as she finds herself realizing that there’s more to life than her job. Dakota has had a fairly good career with ups and downs, but has added a plus with this performance.

The Peanut Butter Falcon has been rated PG-13 for thematic content, language throughout and some violence.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Look for this gem to be in the running at Oscar time. (5 out of 5 Stars).

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen and Bruce Dern
Directed and written by: Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
MPAA Rating: PG-13, contains language, violence,
Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.
Opening Date: August 23, 2019
Distributed by: Roadside Attractions
Released in: Standard, Color

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