“Peanut Butter Falcon” A Familiar Story with a New Twist
March 23, 2020 | Review by Dylan Speer
A modern-day Huckleberry Finn story that tugs at the heartstrings, “Peanut Butter Falcon” is a feel-good movie bound to make you appreciate life like you never thought.
The story follows the adventures of an unlikely duo that meets after Zak (Zachary Gottsagen), a young man with Down Syndrome, who escapes his retirement home and finds his way to the fishing docks where he finds Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) dealing with his own challenges. After escaping the ordeal caused by Tyler’s attraction to causing problems, he promises to fulfill Zak’s dream, attending wrestling school taught by the Saltwater Redneck (Thomas Haden Church), and not turn him into his pursuing caretaker Eleanor (Dakota Johnson). Besides Eleanor, the two runaways are being pursued by bitter fishermen out for vengeance. American rapper Yelawolf makes a cameo appearance as one of the vengeful fisherman.
Throughout the journey we see Zak and Tyler grow closer and teach each other many things. We also see that classic LaBeouf flirty charm we are used to seeing in movies like “Even Stevens” and “Transformers.” Knowing what we know about LaBeouf’s antics outside of acting, I can’t help but believe this was a humbling experience for him. We see that type of growth and maturity develop in his character through the film.
Gottsagen plays a character as lovable as you can find. You feel no choice but to root for him all the way through. His witty humor and sly remarks will keep a smile on your face for the length of the film. Zak will really capture the attention of fans of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) world with his obsession, of which drives the plot, with pro wrestling. His development through the film is also very encouraging as he is constantly faced with challenges, he once thought were impossible, but through his companionship with Tyler he seems to be able to conquer anything.
“Peanut Butter Falcon” won Best Narrative Feature at Nantucket Film Festival and rightfully so. The movie has a couple minor miscues where you get lost but that is easy to overlook with the captivating performance from LeBeouf and Gottsagen. The story isn’t the most original and the production will probably not win any awards, but the characters will grab your heart and take it for a ride. I highly recommend this film especially if you are in need of a pick me up during these uncertain days stuck in quarantine.
“Peanut Butter Falcon”, Zak (Zack Gottsagen) and Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) share a drink as they celebrate their journey on the beach.