The Peanut Butter Falcon
2019 | Drama | 98 minutes | In English
Zak, a 22-year old with Down syndrome, lives in an assisted living facility in North Carolina. Eleanor is his compassionate primary caregiver. Zak is obsessed with wrestling and watches the same video over and over again of Salt Water Redneck, a person operating a wrestling school in Florida. With the aid of his elderly roommate, Carl, Zak escapes from the facility determined to meet Redneck. Zak stows away on a small fishing boat for the night. Tyler, an unstable man and a thief is on the lam after a confrontation with local fishermen. He finds Zak on the boat he is about to use for his escape. Initially, Tyler wants to leave Zak behind, but changes his mind when he sees a 13-year old boy bullying Zak. Tyler is willing to take Zak to meet Salt Water Redneck and they head south. They start to bond as Tyler teaches Zak how to swim and fire a gun. They live on peanut butter as it’s the only grocery item they can afford. The next morning Eleanor locates Zak and tries to convince him to return to the facility. Instead, Tyler convinces Eleanor to join them on their journey agreeing that Zak will return to the facility after he hooks up with Redneck. Unfortunately, they find the school closed. They meet a rascal named Clint who teaches Zak how to wrestle and sets up a staged fight for Zak with a more experienced wrestler. Eleanor is frightened for Zak when she sees how brutal these fights can be. But, it’s a momentous occasion for Zak, an opportunity to enhance his terribly low self-esteem.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 95%
- Metacritic Score: 70
South by Southwest Film Festival: Winner of the Narrative Spotlight Audience Award
Nantucket Film Festival: Winner, Best Narrative Feature
Deauville Film Festival: Audience Award
Crested Butte Film Festival: Winner, Audience Choice Award; Winner, Outstanding Debut Performance (Zack Gottsagen)
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There has been quite some noise around this film, but it deserves a lot more attention than it’s getting. The film is a sweet, funny and heartfelt look at friendship and strength. After seeing it people will remember this as one of the year’s best movies.
Clichés aside, there is something at work in THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON, something eccentric and exuberant. Directors Nilson and Schwartz’s devotion to the details of Zac’s world highlights Gottsagen’s funny and intelligent performance, giving the film an authenticity it wouldn’t otherwise have.
The directors achieve a relaxed and amiable vibe while moving the story forward with dispatch through picturesque Southern Atlantic land and seascapes. And Gottsagen is a disarming performer who creates a sweet and funny character. The center of the film is completely without contrivance.
There is honest sentiment in the arc of this story, aided by the chemistry between Gottsagen and LaBeouf. THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON is a more conventional film, and by the time Zak and Tyler reach their destination, it has morphed into a full-on, feel-good fable, but the kind that doesn’t make you feel bad about feeling good.
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