Review: “The Peanut Butter Falcon” – Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz

4 mins read
An ode to friendship and camaraderie, to freedom and self-determination and to the meaning of life. Sometimes films are allowed to be nothing more than just beautiful and charming, although they do not reflect the image of a perfect work of art. However, if a story manages to affirm life, lets you have a good time and gives the viewer new courage, then it’s exactly the reason why one should watch it. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a moving and round movie in every aspect. It lives from it’s characters and the interpersonal interactions, and last but not least it shows what’s really important in life.
Source: Tobis Film
Maybe not a road movie in the classical sense, since two bandits are on the run, nevertheless a charming homage to Mark Twain á la Huckleyberry Finn. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and it is impressive how directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwarz use the setting of the story to give the film its own distinctive world – in the midst of the swamps and wetlands of southern America. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” could have been so constructed and corny, but instead it turns out to be a tale of adventure and the will to live, which has the heart in the right place. Apart from all the initial doubts, the film works well, thanks to the actor Zack Gottsagen, a young man with Down Syndrome. The role has been written especially for him, which gives his performance even more prestige. His character has a dream of a future that is far bigger than the boring institution the authorities have put him in. On the way he meets the thug Taylor, played by Shia LeBoeuf, who decides to take care of him and becomes his friend, trainer and mentor.
Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), Zak (Zak Gottsagen) and Tyler (Shia LeBeouf)
The result is a journey full of wild encounters and turns – the directors have created a feel-good road movie that is almost too beautiful to be true. The journey of the two young men is full of dangers, but in return it also brings mutual respect and a large portion of recognition. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” affirms the philanthropy, without being blissful. Gottsagen’s performance is anchored in reality and therefore shows the dignity of every human being. Meanwhile LaBeouf brings a mixture of contempt and compassion with him. Without being too conspicuous, he shows a winning anti-hero personality that perfectly matches the Huckleberry Finn adventurer he reluctantly becomes. Although by no means at the level of Gottsagen or LeBeouf, Dakota Johnson also shows to be both sympathetic and courageous, as Eleanor, whose interplay with Zak is particularly endearing. She also creates the kind of character that is easy to like and worth getting rooted in, which benefits narrativity at every level.
Source: Tobis Film
As predictable and sentimental as it sounds, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” still delivers what you’d expect from the film and also offers a pause for thought in the portrayal of a disability. In this respect, the casting of Gottsagen is a masterstroke that gives Zack’s character real authenticity, making both his heartache and his victory emotionally all the stronger. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” therefore tells a fairy tale about friendship, in which disability and grief still play a role and takes the viewer on a heartbreaking journey.

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