“The Peanut Butter Falcon” follows the story of Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a 22-year old with down syndrome who dreams of becoming a professional wrestler. Without a family to look after him, Zak has spent most of his life in an assisted living facility in North Carolina under the care of Eleanor (Dakota Johnson). After various attempts to run away, Zak finally escapes and begins his voyage to Florida, where he hopes to find the wrestling school that will help him achieve his dream.
On his own, the journey would be near impossible, until Zak encounters a man named Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a tough but troubled thief who’s also on the run. The two form a partnership as they make their way down south together. What started as the most unlikely partnership, however, might just soon grow into a strong bond. The movie also features Bruce Dern, Thomas Haden Church, and Jon Bernthal.
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a wholesome southern adventure tale that drums up themes from classic stories like “Of Mice and Men” or “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” It’s the classic tale of an unlikely pair who grow and learn from one another as they encounter different people and new experiences on their journey. It’s not a big out–of–this–world fantasy extravaganza, just a down–to–earth adventure.
The moment the film starts, I fell in love with Zak as a character. He’s the disabled character who’s so meek and innocent you just want to hug him whenever he’s on–screen. However, he’s a disabled character with a quest. He’s not out to cause trouble, he just wants to live his dream and finally have the life he’s been denied being trapped within an assisted living facility. And when he meets Tyler, he gets to do just that.
After leaving the film industry for so long, I’m glad Shia LaBeouf is starting to make a comeback—and what a film to make one. I’m so accustomed to seeing Shia LaBeouf playing the wimpy, awkward character, I never would have thought he could pull off the tough, take no garbage, crook like Tyler, yet he managed to pull it off. It works well in the relationship between Tyler and Zak as well. You see, even though Tyler takes pity on Zak and agrees to have him tag along, he still makes Zak pull his own weight and contribute to their journey. Something that Zak appreciates because Tyler is not giving him special treatment; he’s treating him like an equal. Make no mistake, Tyler does become protective of Zak as the two bond, but never to the point of being too smothering.
The last thing I have to mention about Zak and Tyler as characters is the dynamic outlook they each bring to the story. You have Tyler who holds a grim but more realistic perspective on the world around them, while you have Zak who has a more optimistic and somewhat hopeful outlook. It makes for an interesting experience as we see them both share their perceptions together, and although they’re different, it never leads to a hostile situation between the two, just them learning. As I said in the beginning, this is a wholesome adventure, and it stays that way.
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is rated PG-13 for thematic content, language throughout, along with some violence. For those out there who are confused about the title, it’ll make more sense AFTER you’ve seen the film, and I highly recommend everyone who’s interested to give this one a rent. It’s a fun and heartwarming adventure movie of two traveling companions who become close as brothers as they travel the southern waters. Which is why the final score for “The Peanut Butter Falcon” is an 8 out of 10!
Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. He currently serves as a Journalist and Copy Editor to the Coastal Breeze News and is working on becoming a Published Author.