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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Rob Reviews "The Peanut Butter Falcon"

“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a film that came to me at the right place and in the right time. You see, the month of August historically has been a rough one in my lifetime, and 2019 has not been the exception thus far. Going into this screening, I knew enough to be dangerous, and in this case I am glad that was so.

Zack Gottsagen plays a character with his same name (without the “c”), a resident of a retirement home with Down’s Syndrome that has bigger dreams for himself than his current station. When he escapes the home, he starts on an adventure to meet his professional wrestling hero, The Salt-Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church), whom he watches via VHS tapes that advertise his wrestling school a bit of a distance away in North Carolina. As his journey begins, he meets Tyler (Shia LeBeouf), a down-on-his-luck fisherman with issues of his own, and they team up for the journey of a lifetime as his caseworker in Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) is looking for him and bring him back “home”.

Co-directed and co-written by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, this film hits all the right notes and gives all the right feels. Given LeBeouf’s recent history, a role like Tyler seems to take on a different level of realism for him. Tyler is gritty, grizzled, and carries a huge chip on his shoulder, and LeBeouf plays him perfectly as a compliment of Gottsagen’s innocence and bewilderment. Their work together is nothing short of enthralling, and I was engaged with their journey all the way through. Johnson seems to know that she is more than the third wheel here, but she keeps her performance in the lane where it needs to be. And when the three of them are together, there is a genuine feeling of comradery that gives this film even more of an indie feel, which is kind of lacking given the time of year that it is being released in. (For those that are professional wrestling fans, be on the lookout for a couple of cameos that even gave this old man more than just a grin.)

Paired with a soundtrack that finds a way to take the North Carolina landscape and make it more charming, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” works on each and every level. In a time where we need heroes to help us take our minds and spirits off of all of the chaos that surrounds us (even for an hour and a half), this film reminded me that heroes DO exist, and all we need to do sometimes is to take a step back and take all of the good in while expelling all of the bad.

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