The Peanut Butter Falcon Review - Beautiful, Captivating, A Feel-Good Film That Inspires

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The Peanut Butter Falcon, from Roadside Attractions, presents the story of new beginnings, as the paths of three unique and lost souls, a Downs Syndrome orphan, an unemployed fisherman, and a social worker, cross on a wild adventure.

Directed and written by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, The Peanut Butter Falcon stars Shia LeBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zachery Gottsagen, Bruce Dern, John Hawkes, Thomas Haden Church, Jon Bernthal, Yelawolf, Jake Roberts, Mike Foley and Susan McPhail.

Set against the North Carolina Outer Banks, the film opens with a bearded Shia LeBeouf driving a motorboat, cutting crab pots and stealing the traps. Soon he is caught, and the owner and his posse are determined to teach him a lesson.


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We meet Zak, played by Zachery Gottsagen, at a retirement home, as he has worked out a plan for his escape. In exchange for his dinner pudding, his cohort has agreed to fake an "attack."

The minute she begins her performance Zak runs out the door, heading for freedom. Bam! He is tackled by orderlies and sent to his room. Labeled a flight risk by social worker Eleanor, played by Dakota Johnson,  Zak explains, he is functional, he just wants to be free, he shouldn't be in this place.

A fan of The Salt Water Redneck, played by Thomas Haden Church, a local semi-pro wrestler, Zak, has dreams of becoming a pro wrestler himself and has watched his tape a gazillion times.

Which is when the audience finds out Zak was abandoned by his family. Even as highly functioning as he is, for some reason his family just didn't want the problems associated with his challenges. So here he is, a ward of the state, stuck in some home for old folks and as he says, "I am young."

That night, Carl, his roommate, played by Bruce Dern, pulls the bars, which were placed on the windows after the last attempt at escape, apart and hands him soap and tells him put this soap all over you and you'll slip through the bars. Sure enough, it worked! And minutes later we see Zak running down the street, in his briefs and nothing else.

By morning he has made it to the docks and finds a boat on the water, crawling under the tarp he waits. Soon Tyler, played by Shia LaBeouf, who has just created a hell storm for himself, jumps into the boat and finds a way to momentarily escape the trouble coming his way. The speed and vibration proved to much for our stowaway. Popping up from under the tarp he vomits unaware of the bad guys would kill him just for being in the wrong place.


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This is where our adventure begins, Act II. Our duo, Tyler, who as tough as he appears, decides he can't leave someone vulnerable especially in this world and just as Zak is facing a bit of trouble, Tyler rescues him.

Suddenly, the two have found each other. With Zak looking for a family, and Tyler trying to outrun the guilt that weighs down his soul, a few good deeds may just be the absolution he needs to rid his mind of the haunting, creeping shadow.

Back at the retirement home, Carl is explaining he knows nothing, has no idea how Zak could have pulled the bars apart. Eleanor decides she can find him herself he couldn't have traveled to far on his own and soon she is going door to door hoping to find him.

As she discovers them and explains he has no choice he has to return with her. He explains he has another idea and soon the three of them are floating down the Carolina Shore on their way to The Salt Water Redneck wrestling school.


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The ocean changes people. As the three loners, each looking for a connection, are suddenly thrown together on this adventure the sun, sea, surf and just freedom, has an intoxicating effect on them each suddenly realizing that whatever the needed, the found it.

The Peanut Butter Falcon is well written, incorporating a story that has both insensitivity and compassion, destruction and beauty and presents three people hoping to build a life from the fragmented pieces tragedy has left behind.


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Beautifully shot on the Outer Banks, The Peanut Butter Falcon is a feel-good film that inspires. Family friendly, Shia LeBeouf and Dakota Johnson are magnetic, and Zach Gottsagen steals the show in his first full length feature.

The Peanut Butter Falcon opens Friday, August 9, 2019. Check your local listings. See it.

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