A young man with Down Syndrome tells two short filmmakers that he wants to star in a full-length movie. They read a book on how to write a screenplay, complete a script, which subsequently makes its way to Shia LeBeouf who signs on, and the rest is, as they say, history. Not only was the new film THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON literally created from a spoken dream, it is a movie lover’s dream in motion – ninety-three minutes of engaging characters and great storytelling, capped off with a rousing finale.
In the film, Zack Gottsagen plays Zak, a ward of the state with Down Syndrome, who has no family to pose as caretakers and lives in a nursing home full-time. Zak dreams of meeting his idol, The Salt Water Redneck (portrayed by Thomas Haden Church), and being trained at his wrestling school. When he runs away from the home, set on achieving his goal, he meets up with Tyler (LeBeouf) – who’s on the run literally from the law and also figuratively from his past. An unlikely duo, Zak and Tyler journey to Florida, attempting to evade Eleanor (a caretaker from the nursing home portrayed by Dakota Johnson), running into eccentric characters, and forming a strong bond along the way.
When I say that this might be my favorite film so far this year! It is definitely the most engaging I’ve seen this summer, and that’s a mouthful because I loved the recent release “Blinded by the Light.” But I’m also impressed with the simple tales, that highlight relationships and are character-driven, and “The Peanut Butter Falcon” does this brilliantly.
In addition, the relationship between Gottsagen and LeBeouf is extremely charming and it’s not hard to imagine that their chemistry off-screen was just as affectionate – as executive producer Aaron Scotti confirms in the short Q & A video below.
A small film, with a huge heart, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a must see for those of you who love a great story, with sentimental and heartwarming elements. I rate it 4.5 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON is out now in theaters nationwide. You can get additional info and tickets at the official website here.
Until next thought, Thomasena
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
A modern Mark Twain style adventure story, THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON tells the story of Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from a residential nursing home to follow his dream of attending the professional wrestling school of his idol, The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). A strange turn of events pairs him on the road with Tyler (LaBeouf), a small time outlaw on the run, who becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (Johnson), a kind nursing home employee charged with Zak’s return, to join them on their journey
CAST: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Zack Gottsagen with Jon Bernthal and Thomas Haden Church
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz
PRODUCED BY: Albert Berger, p.g.a. & Ron Yerxa, p.g.a. Christopher Lemole, p.g.a. & Tim Zajaros, p.g.a. Lije Sarki, p.g.a. David Thies, p.g.a.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Manu Gargi, Aaron Scotti, Timothy Shriver, Anthony K. Shriver, Michelle Sie Whitten, Carmella Casinelli