Release Date (wide): August 23, 2019
Director: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes
Rating: 4/4 Stars
“Not all those who wander are lost.” And so it goes for the two main leads at the center of The Peanut Butter Falcon, a refreshingly sweet and feel-good tale. The film begins with Zac (Zach Gottsagen), a young man with Down’s syndrome, who dreams of escaping the retirement home he was placed in. With no family to claim as his own other than some of the residents he befriends there and his caseworker (Dakota Johnson), Zac hopes to one day become a professional wrestler. Meanwhile, and free to wander, Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) seeks to make ends meet as he struggles to settle on a path of his own. While both grapple to break free from their respective prisons, one literal and the other based in guilt and unresolved grief, their most unlikely meeting sets them on a course of whimsical madness, friendship, and self discovery.
I’ve seen my fair share of journeys across the screen, and The Peanut Butter Falcon cements itself as a memorable ride through backwater, ocean, and lush countryside. As much as the film is dedicated to its inhabitants and story, the film also gives great credit to the land around which its story and people are inspired from. As I was watching the film, my eyes couldn’t help but take notice of the incredible beauty on display.
The chemistry between the main leads feels so natural and entertaining as Zac and Tyler play and riff off each other like brothers in progress. Shia LaBeouf gives a performance that is both warm and vulnerable in one of his best to date, and Dakota Johnson continues to impress as she pushes away from the stilted and laughably cringy persona displayed in previous Fifty Shades films. And much is to say about Zach Gottensagen’s wonderfully versatile performance as a young man striving to fight against crippling narratives as he seeks to reach his dreams and find a family of his own. Accompany that with both comedic and light-hearted supporting appearances from Bruce Dern, Thomas Haden Church, and several others in the cast, The Peanut Butter Falcon feels like a most delicious dessert of the best kind. Like chocolate morsels in a cookie so soft and appetizing throughout, The Peanut Butter Falcon will leave you satisfied and wanting more.
A treat for the eyes as it is for the heart and soul, The Peanut Butter Falcon is a win that succeeds in bringing depth and charm on a journey of the most peculiar and amazing kind. Its inhabitants and the many colorful characters met along the way is what elevates the The Peanut Butter Falcon to be placed among the greats. I had a blast as I caught myself smiling, laughing, and caring from beginning to end, and you may, too. Do yourself a favor and see The Peanut Butter Falcon. Adventure awaits.
The Peanut Butter Falcon is rated PG-13 for thematic content, language throughout, some violence, and smoking.