Monday 11 November 2019

Peanut Butter Falcon ★★★★★

Here it is. The film of the year. Yeah, I said it. I can’t see anything coming along in the next two months that will be better than this modern masterpiece. This is one of those rare films where absolutely everything works and I sat in absolute silence throughout the entire end credits, fighting the urge to burst out of my chair in applause with a one-man standing ovation. The Peanut Butter Falcon is one of the sweetest, most inspiring and heartfelt films I think I have ever seen, and I cannot recommend it enough.

After running away from a residential nursing home to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a pro-wrestler, a young man with Down syndrome, Zack (Zack Gottsegen), befriends a wayward and troubled fisherman on the run (Shia LaBeouf) and the two men form a rapid and unexpected bond. When social worker Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) tracks them down, they convince her to join their ragtag group and make Zack’s wrestling dream a reality and bring his alter-ego The Peanut Butter Falcon to life.

Playing out like a modern, reimagined Huckleberry Finn, The Peanut Butter Falcon is absolutely bursting with charm. While not shying away from the bullying Zack endures, the film does not paint him as disabled or the butt of a joke – the film actually raises some very important points about how to treat similarly afflicted people in the real world. Zack Gottsegen is absolutely incredible in his cinema debut, delivering a layered performance that is so full of emotion and heart that he could very well have a big career ahead of him in Hollywood. He is remarkably talented and in The Peanut Butter Falcon, a star is born. Shia LaBeouf also delivers a career-best performance in the role of Tyler, a character he was born to play. Deeply troubled by the loss of his brother, Shia puts an incredible pain behind the eyes of Tyler that is so subtle and understated. Dakota Johnson is also wonderful as care-worker Eleanor, while a supporting cast of John Hawkes, Bruce Dern and Thomas Haden Church all shine.

The film is visually stunning, making a character out of the Carolina setting itself, while the film’s beautiful soundtrack – bringing together bluegrass, folk and spiritual music – compliments the visuals and setting perfectly. Any film that features the music of Gregory Alan Isakov automatically gets 5 stars, but with The Peanut Butter Falcon, every single star is earned wholeheartedly before I heard Isakov.

I think I should just wrap this review up here, so you can get to work with watching the film. The Peanut Butter Falcon is a masterpiece, bursting with beauty and heart. I laughed, I cried. Often at the same time. This is an unparalleled comedy-drama, the likes of which I have never seen before, and I think you’ll love it too. There’s not a single negative to mention. Stop whatever you’re doing and find a way to watch the film as soon as possible. It’s the best film of 2019.

Sam Love

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