By Marigold Wicks
The Peanut Butter Falcon, directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, is a heartwarming, Huckleberry Finn-esque tale that evokes many emotions from viewers in all the right places and at all the right times. Classified as a “Comedy/Drama,” the film provides lots of laughs while remaining on the dramatic side throughout the film.
The flick stars Zack Gottsagen as Zak, a young man with Down Syndrome who breaks out of the retirement home he’s being kept at. While this is happening, Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) is having a hearty dispute with people who run a crab shack for not letting him sell his crabs. It ends in Tyler setting the two owners’ expensive equipment on fire, then hopping on a fishing boat nearby that Zak happens to have slept in the night before on his run. Tyler then sails away.
Gottsagen and LaBeouf in The Peanut Butter Falcon. Picture courtesy of The Peanut Butter Falcon trailer/Armory films
The two get to know each other during their trip. They go on many little adventures, including encountering a bully, almost getting hit by a huge boat, long conversations, and Zak revealing that he wants to be a wrestler. He shares that his wrestler name would be “The Peanut Butter Falcon” because of how much peanut butter the two had been eating on their journey. After learning this, Tyler helps boost Zak’s self-confidence while training him to become the best wrestler possible.
Eventually, Zak’s caretaker from the retirement home, Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), discovers where Zak has run off to after many days of searching. She eventually befriends Tyler and after much convincing, decides to join them on their journey, resulting in triumph, victory, blossoming romance, and new great friendships.
With new friend Eleanor, the three continue to sail away. Photo courtesy of SXSW/Armory films
Lots of great elements come together to really make this movie work. First, the soundtrack, which is mostly filled with simple, happy tunes, while some songs are dramatic and filled with action. Overall, the music perfectly fits all of the scenes. When it comes to the acting, every actor and actress truly shows their emotions — you see the determination in Zak’s eyes as he’s escaping from the retirement home. You can tell there’s exhaustion in Eleanor’s body language when she finally finds Zak, and Tyler’s anger when he’s burning the equipment down. Everything about this movie was perfect, and I personally can’t think of a single complaint regarding the film.
I give The Peanut Butter Falcon 5 stars, because everything about this film fits so well together — the music, the nice story in a “calm adventure” fashion, and the actors and actresses, who all work so well together to create a film that will stick with you for a very long time.