The Peanut Butter Falcon
By James Davidson
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a comedic drama that debuted in August of 2019. It is currently available on the Amazon Video streaming service, and is free with an Amazon Prime subscription. It tells the story of Zak, (played by Zack Gottsagen) a young man with Downs Syndrome, who escapes from the retirement home in North Carolina where he has been placed by the state. After escaping, Zak begins a journey to meet his hero, Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church), a wrestler who Zak idolizes. Along the way, Zak meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf). Tyler is a man grieving the loss of his brother and is on the run after getting into some trouble with some local fishermen. Tyler and Zak agree to travel down the North Carolina coast together and end up encountering many adventures and mishaps along the way.
I heard about this movie when it first came out and was excited to see it, I just never got the opportunity. I was excited when I saw that it was available on Amazon Prime and immediately scheduled a movie night with my wife. I was hoping that this would be a heartwarming movie with just the right amount of humor. I kind of thought that it might be a slower paced film and was not expecting a lot of action, and maybe have some parts that would drag on a bit. I was not disappointed at all with this movie, in fact, it exceeded my expectations.
The plot was a bit slow in spots, but I never felt like the movie was dragging on or lacked in intrigue. The comedy and drama were enough to keep my interest and I never felt my mind wandering at all. The comedy was smart and subtle, I didn’t feel like I was being bashed over the head with a joke stick every time someone made a joke or humorous comment like I feel in some movies.
I enjoyed the writing for the plot, particularly the characters. All of the characters were complex and layered. None of them were exactly as meets the eye. There weren’t necessarily any surprises, but as the movie went on, more was revealed about each character’s backstory. The characters definitely drive the story forward and create most of the comedy in this film and it is executed to perfection.
The intriguingly complex characters are excellently complemented by some impeccable acting. Zack Gottsagen in his debut performance as Zak is incredible and one of the best acting performances of the past year. His chemistry with Shia LaBeouf, who also delivers an incredible performance, is what makes this movie truly special. I could feel the bond building between these two characters as they learned from each other and become something that is more than friendship. Both are looking for a place to fit in, and both are missing their family and find it in each other. Zak is searching for a family that will accept him as he is, and finds it in Tyler. Tyler is missing his brother and best friend and finds someone to help fill that hole in Zak.
This movie is rated PG-13 for thematic content, language throughout, some violence and smoking. Other than some strong language in places this movie is pretty clean. There are some themes in the plot that younger viewers might not understand, but this is a great, feel good movie that would be great for families with older children.
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a heartwarming, soul cleansing journey. Great acting drives an incredibly written story with some complex, layered characters that have great chemistry. If you are looking for a movie for your next movie night, I strongly recommend this. I will definitely be watching this again and I will even look for it on DVD to add to my collection. This is the best movie I have seen in a while, it earns 5 out of 5 stars.