Evening folks! I’m your conductor and this week’s review is for The Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Zack Gottsagan and Shia LeBeouf. It was an independent feature, and so it only got a limited release in theaters. Here’s a interesting piece of information for an unaware reader; when a film is theatrically released in a limited fashion, it means that the movie is shown specifically in large metropolitan cinemas and are typically art house films. However, Peanut Butter Falcon became a sleeper success despite its few shows. So, is there something audiences saw in this film that I can’t, or is it possibly the other way around? Let’s get this show on the road and see.
Inspired by the works of Mark Twain, it follows Zak, a thirtysomething man living with Down syndrome at a nursing home. Zak has quite the dream despite these things; being able to meet and be under the mentorship of a famed wrestler named the Salt Water Redneck. Zak thus escapes from the facility in order to achieve his goal, along the way developing a budding bond with a fugitive fisherman, Tyler. Elsewhere, one of Zak’s caretakers becomes determined to locate the young venturer, and Tyler is pursued simultaneously by a duo of irate rogues.
The acting is, without a hair of doubt, Peanut Butter Falcon’s strongest component. This is probably Shia LaBeouf’s best performance yet, only really up against Borg vs. McEnroe for the prestigious title. I suppose we’ll have to wait to prove if LeBeouf is making a real comeback, thanks in part to this film and Honey Boy. In addition, Dakota Johnson as the caretaker Eleanor did a good job for what she was given. But the star of the show in many ways is the performance done by Zack Gottsagan, who feels to be playing a raw version of himself in this role. Perhaps if it weren’t for these magnificent acting chops Peanut Butter Falcon could have felt like a tacky Hallmark movie. It’s really a testament when the performances can inject such a layered heartfelt charm into a picture that could come off as sappy if done poorly.
One a brief but highly noteworthy sidetrack, I adore how this movie doesn’t talk down to Zak or treat him any differently from the other characters. There’s one terrific scene in particular where Shia LeBeouf points out to Eleanor how she is generally sort of belittling towards Zak. If you want a slice of the film that demonstrates its brilliant acting, this would have to be one for sure. Apparently, I couldn’t find the exact scene, but I just suppose you’ll have to watch the movie for yourself.
The idea of writing a modern play on classic American folk tales is a great notion too. As I mentioned in the plot summary, this is influenced by the world of Mark Twain, specifically Huckleberry Finn. If you want to dissect the details of the comparisons with the two, go ahead. For a start, Zak can be interpreted as the Huckleberry Finn of the story, while Tyler leans into the Tom Sawyer mold.
Swinging right on back to the previous opinions, one of Peanut Butter Falcon’s flaws is that it can be buoyant occasionally to a fault. It’s simpleness ultimately trips the film over into unfortunate predictability. When the third act of the movie comes along, it makes some unexpected and genuinely boggling decisions that kinda drag it down a few notches on the “that wouldn’t happen” meter. So yeah, a couple of scenes feel like a stretch, and did sadly strain some of the film’s believability.
Their are noticeable blotches on the Peanut Butter Falcon‘s whole, but this modern retelling is guaranteed to warm one’s heart with top tier feel-good performances and its infectious upbeat demeanor. It’s not a movie I will be returning to in the near future, but for what it’s worth I had a good time.
RATING: 8/10 “Recommended to Anyone”
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