I didn’t get the chance to see The Peanut Butter Falcon when it was in the theater. However, I do remember being intrigued by the trailer. So, when I was offered the opportunity to review the film on Blu-ray, I jumped at the chance. No doubt, there are many things about the movie that tugged on my heart strings. However, I found myself wrestling with some of my emotions. Was this the film I actually thought it was going to be?
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The Peanut Butter Falcon
The Peanut Butter Falcon is a heartwarming story about Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down Syndrome who runs away from a residential nursing home in an attempt to fulfill his dream of attending the pro wrestling school of his idol, The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). While on the road, Zak meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a small-time outlaw who ultimately becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together, the two take on a wild journey that proves to be life-changing for the both of them.
What I liked about The Peanut Butter Falcon
I enjoyed how the film showed the capabilities of two individuals who were considered incapable by society ~ whether by choice or genetics. Both Zak and Tyler were thought to lack the ability necessary to make adult decisions or take care of themselves. While Zak’s situation was due to a medical condition, Tyler’s was due to tragic life circumstances. Yet, both had a drive inside of them, as well as a dream or goal to pursue. It didn’t matter if anyone else believed in them. They both knew what they wanted and determined to get it ~ somehow.
On a brief personal note, I have always had a soft spot for those who have Down Syndrome. Growing up, I learned quickly and personally how they have this gift of being able to soften the hardest of hearts.
This movie does capture that gifting well.
Their outlook on life is typically far better than those who do not carry the same genetic make-up. It simply amazes me to see them push through to show they are just as capable as the next person.
Shia LaBeouf (not typically my favorite actor in the world) actually impressed me in this role. He did a great job at delivering a balance between the sarcasm and behavior he had to demonstrate towards Zak in the beginning and the kindness and compassion that came later. While his role had quite a few character flaws that rubbed me the wrong way, he did end up growing on me throughout the movie. (He sports the beard pretty well, too ~ don’t you think?)
What I didn’t like about The Peanut Butter Falcon
To be quite honest, I know it made the movie appear that much more relatable, but I just felt there was a little too much profanity and skin. I wasn’t too thrilled to see Zak (Gottsagen) running around in his underwear as much as we did. Nor did I enjoy hearing the excessive profanity that was being flung around. Every once in awhile, I would find myself cringing or sighing at things that shouldn’t have upset me. However, I just felt it was excessive and overdone. It wasn’t as if it made the story that much better.
I also felt that the story itself was slow, but the ending a bit abrupt. It left me a little unsatisfied, to be honest. It just didn’t make complete sense and there were pieces of the story that went untold. Sure, it’s good to leave some things to the imagination, but these were holes that probably should not have been left open.
What you should know
There are a few things that I think you should know before deciding whether to see this film. I’ll just briefly give you a list so as not to spoil anything.
- As noted above, Zak (Gottsagen) does appear in his underwear quite a bit in this film.
- Tyler (LaBeouf) does show a portion of his backside (while urinating in a lake), though seen from a distance.
- There is quite a bit of profanity – and we’re talking most of the big ones. Zak is even heard swearing at one point.
- There is violence. The movie has a story-line where two guys are after Tyler and they won’t stop until he has been caught and pays for what he did. Some of the violent scenes use guns or tools. In at least two scenes, we even see Zak with a gun in his grasp.
- The movie does have drinking and both Tyler and Zak get drunk in at least one scene.
Would I recommend this movie?
It is definitely a heartwarming story to watch. However, as noted above, it does move very slowly and has excessive profanity, violence and skin. It does take a tremendous attention span and some patience to watch the story unfold. The movie is definitely a journey, one that many refer to as a modern day Mark Twain tale. I will say that it does have the potential to tug at those who have a heart for special needs, in both a sentimental and frustrating way.
Now, I am a parent of teen boys, but I do respect that parents know their own children. I’m just not sure I could recommend this movie for children under the age of 13 (it does have a PG-13 rating), unless you as a parent are comfortable with the amount of swearing and skin seen in this film. I actually think 13 is cutting it a little close, but I’m just one parent. I have a thirteen year old son and, while it’s debatable I would let him see this film, I don’t know that he would want to simply because of how slow the story moves. My sixteen year old would appreciate it a bit more, but still may not find it as interesting as I did. There are definitely quite a few parts that would need to be explained to younger viewers.
The Peanut Butter Falcon ~ which is an absolutely perfect name for this film ~ is a backwoods journey that speaks of friendship and overcoming challenges. I appreciated many aspects of the film very much, but had difficulty with some of the other things that were incorporated. While I know life is not all about roses and candy, I wrestled with the fact that some things were overdone and excessive. Sometimes that excess is not needed in order to understand the story being told.
All in all, this was a tough one for me to review. I say that only because I have had a heart for those with Down Syndrome since I was a tween. While I loved the inclusion, it was tough to watch how he was treated and hear the names he was being called throughout the film.
I will say that I’m proud of Zack Gottsagen and I look forward to hopefully seeing him in other projects in the future. He did a great job tackling something many probably thought he would be incapable of doing – both in character and in real life. He is both a role model and an inspiration to many.
The Peanut Butter Falcon is out on digital, Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra now!!
If you’re looking for a movie that will tug on your heartstrings a bit and give you something to think about, this may be a good mid afternoon movie for you. Order your copy of the movie today ~ The Peanut Butter Falcon (⬅ clickable affiliate link).
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