The Fundamentals of Caring Review – Surprising Dramatic Comedy Charms

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The Fundamentals of Caring, a Netflix Original Film, presents the unfairness and difficulties of life with a child diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and how one person and possibility can create hope and dare to dream.

Directed by Rob Burnett, The Fundamentals of Caring stars Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez, Craig Roberts, Jennifer Ehle, Megan Ferguson, Frederick Weller and Julia Denton.

The film opens as Ben Benjamin, played by Paul Rudd, entering caregiving class for some yet to be revealed reason he has checked out of life. Hoping to feel again, he becomes a caregiver to focus less on his personal wounds and despair and more on someone else’s need.

Truly he is still struggling, his wife, Janet, played by Julia Denton, is trying to have him sign the divorce papers. It’s during this meeting that we find out that it has been two years. His soon to be ex-wife seems to have gotten on with life and he, weighed down with an unknown burden, can’t. He tosses the envelope on the table and explains “I can’t.”

To him the divorce issues has been settled. He can’t yet and won’t. To Janet, she has made up her mind and continues. She slips the envelope under the door and finally has a process server attempt to serve the papers.

Ben is a part time unemployed writer and with everything that has stilled in his life as he lives, moves and breathes he is essentially the walking dead. His emotions, and his pen are silenced.

Today, he is off to secure his first caregiving assignment. Opening the door, we meet Elsa Conklin, played by Jennifer Ehle, the mother of Trevor, whom we don’t meet for a scene or two as his mother describes his situation and life.

Ravaged by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Trevor, played by Craig Roberts, has limited physical abilities he does however have quite a strong sense of humor when you can find it as it is hidden under this massive chip on his shoulder. So when he does show up, he, confined to an electric wheel chair, announces himself by playing mentally challenged and unable to speak.

After that he calms somewhat and we find his biting sarcasm is his lead. So between the two, as Ben is wounded and while as a caregiver he is precise, when Trevor is in one of his moods, he bites back. The two are a perfect couple, verbally sparring with each other with stabbing sarcasm, digs, and bitter words.

As Trevor, for the umpteenth time talks about the totally irreverent tourist attractions that have fascinated him from the largest Bovine to the largest natural hole in the world as he puts place markers on the map for each one.

Suddenly, as Ben is at his wits end with the day in, day out routine of sameness he suggests a road trip to visit these close and trivial sights.

With Elsa panicking, they finally all for five minutes agree it is a good thing and before any of three could change their minds they are on the road. Suddenly the world isn’t as scary as it was.

Stopping for gas and road trip food supplies, a clearly smitten Trevor sees a hitchhiker, to him a goddess, and honestly the first female outside of the television he has seen in some time. A raven haired beauty, who commented on his very cool sneakers. To which he replies, “Mall.”

So the single word answer became the fodder for the next 100 or so miles as the banter between the two becomes less jagged. Suddenly at another pit stop, they see her again.  Soon Dot, played by Selena Gomez, has joined the two as both are chivalrous and feel the road is no place for a hitchhiking female.

I enjoyed The Fundamentals of Caring. It is a charming dramady. There were bits of it, however, that I found unsettling.

Craig Roberts, who gives an unbelievably realistic performance, and was stunning in his portrayal shocked with his initial entrance in the film. That scene, as it was meant to disarm did and felt like mockery of those who do suffer from such deep mental challenges.

Selena Gomez, whom I have only seen in one other film, is a beauty. Her character Dot, is almost an archetype of the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Her character, chain smoking, hitchhiking, expletives using tough girl truly masks the gentle, caring soul that meets this man who will never get better and sees the person and not the difficulties.

Paul Rudd, whom we know so well from his work across the years, has matured as a talent. We see someone who handles the material, which doesn’t shy away from the realities of life caring for someone with DMD and handles with skillfully.

All the characters have their arch, Trevor and Ben mellow and change, one getting his voice back and the other adjusting his and Dot who isn’t so tough after all and freely gives happiness.

The Fundamentals of Caring is charming, magnetic, film, with smartly written characters that truly shine. It is available on Netflix streaming platform. See it.

Images used with permission.

Haute Tease

  • Academy Award® And Emmy® Award Winner Nicole Kidman To Star In Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Academy Award® and Emmy® Award Winner Nicole Kidman will star in Destroyer, a modern Los Angeles crime thriller to be directed by Karyn Kusama from an original screenplay by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi.

     
  • Eddie V’s San Diego Review – Culinary Forward Seafood

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "America's Finest City" just got a little tastier with the opening of Eddie V's San Diego location, adjacent to the waterfront Seaport Village dining and shopping complex, now serving delicious appetizing deep sea delights guaranteed to satisfy even the most sophisticated palette.

     
  • US Markets Rally in Four Day Week; DOW Sets Record; World Markets Hold Strong

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The red hot Dow Jones Industrial Average sent markets soaring throughout the July 5, 2014 week heating up the New York Stock Exchange as the DOW flirted with a record 17,000 and closed the four day holiday week holding strong setting a new record.

     
  • Beach Boy Brian Wilson Selling Vacation Home

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    After Elvis and before the Beatles, the Beach Boys were America's favorite rock 'n roll group ruling the U.S. air waves with “Surfin' Safari,” “Surfin' USA” and “Surfer Girl” and virtually creating the California beach music sound.

     
  • Interview and Review: Director Matthew Lillard Talks on His Triumph FAT KID RULES THE WORLD

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    FAT KID RULES THE WORLD, directed by Matthew Lillard, tackles the difficult subjects of obesity, teen suicide and punk rock in this critically acclaimed, ten years in the making, film.

     
  • Money News: Bear, Bull Split World Markets

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Dow Jones Industrial and the NASDAQ successfully fought off the encroaching bear market while the S&P500 fell as the bear split the ten most watched global markets with no obvious pattern as usually aligned U.S. markets fell.

     
  • Mile 22 Review - An Action Packed Race Against Time CIA Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Mile 22, from STX Entertainment, brings to the screen a contemporary, high tech espionage story focusing on a special active CIA team traveling the globe answering the call when hot situations threaten the safety and security of America.

     
  • High Strung Free Dance Review – World Class, High Energy, Electric Performances

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    High Strung Free Dance, from Endeavor Content and Atlas Distribution Company, presents the story of two young arts professionals in New York City, pursuing their creative dreams while working day jobs, hustling to live and make it.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama Honors Selma Marchers; Netanyahu Addresses Congress; Clinton 2016 Scrutiny

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama honored those who participated in the Selma Voting Rights March during March 1965 with the passage of H.R. 431 which provides for the award of a Congressional Gold Medal of appropriate design on behalf of the Congress.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Merkel Meet; Clinton; Paris; Brexit; Border Wall; Conway/DOJ; Chuck Barry

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump, arguably the most recognized blowhard in Washington, was superseded this week by Winter Storm Stella, a bombogenesis, that barreled up the eastern seaboard closing government and postponing the first visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

     
  • UK Music: Irish Singer Fintan McKahey Drops "Platinum" July

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The lockdown is slowly starting to ease here in the UK. We have several artists on our roster who have been inspired by the sudden stillness of life and are dropping new tunes in the next months.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Troops Sent to Join ISIS/ISIL Fight; GOP Wins Big; October Job Numbers; Foreign News

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama wasted no time in addressing the decisive message spoken clearly by voter's on Tuesday's mid-term elections and reached across the aisle and stated compromise, on all fronts, will be the necessary ingredient to combat congressional dysfunction and gridlock.

     
  • RBG Review - Notorious, Genuine, Four Stars

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    RBG, from Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media and CNN Films, presents a most notorious and hands down untold story of the rise of the cult movement behind the U.S. Supreme Court's most celebrated jurist, Honorable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

     
  • Max Azria Spring Collection - Bringing Flirtation Back to Fashion

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Max Azria, one the Fashion World's premiere designers, previewed his 2008 Spring/Summer Collection at the IMG Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York's Bryant Park recently, creating a fashion palette of summertime seduction as he brought flirtation back to fashion.

     
  • World News: Emmanuel Macron Faces His Defining Test

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    What is macronism? Subject of interrogation which does not tire to question quidams and political scientists in a world turned upside down and in lack of markers. And if precisely, macronism was the fruit of the absence of vision.