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Film Review: “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019) ★★★


What makes any film big? Is it the budget, heavyweight actors, or box office success? In most cases, a combination of the above mentioned three parameters is what normally secures the needed level of achievement. However, if that particular film will find a permanent home in our heart is a complicated question to which many may come with their own answers. However, not all those films have a heart, soul, and ability to connect with the audience in the most profound way. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” may not get all the money in the world from the box office, but will surely deliver a heartwarming story that had to be told only in the way writers and directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz did.

Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, stays at the Britthayven retirement home. He has no family member who could provide adequate supervision to him or even understand his needs. The young woman, Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), is his caregiver with a big word. She truly cares about him and does everything possible so that he doesn’t feel alone. However, there’s one dream in Zak’s heart which he wants to fulfill; a dream Eleanor won’t be able to make it happen – to attend the wrestling school in North Carolina run by Clint / The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church).

That changes when Zak, with the help of his roommate in the nursing home, Carl (Bruce Dern), helps him escape for the third time. While Eleanor tries to locate his whereabouts, the dreamer finds a family member he never had in the small town outlaw, Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), who not only helps Zak realize his dream but become a better and more confident human being in the nursing home or anywhere else. When Eleanor finally finds Zak, she, after a brief discussion with Tyler, decides to postpone her mission to return Zak back to the retirement house and instead joins them in the quest that will change our heroes’ lives forever.

“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a film that manages to find that hidden button in an audience where with one click you’re fully engaged. Despite it being such a small film, it’s a feel-good story where the great cast helps the film to unite with the viewers to become one. It’s a rare achievement for any film to work on all aspects of the storyline to deliver something that’s not just meaningful but touching and so important. For instance, Zak, with Down syndrome does not believe in himself. He is not sure what he is capable of or not. But after meeting Tyler, everything changes for good for both the men; they find in each other a brother they both needed as another one died not long ago. And of course, Dakota Johnson’s Eleanor; she is that particular person who must be present in the life of any person who needs genuine love and care. Eleanor is a great character you fall in love with immediately, same as the dreamy Zak and troubled Tyler, the lives of whom are soon about to change.

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