It’s been a rough couple of months, hasn’t it? Between Brexit, daily reports of far off impeachment from the tangoed contingent, and large chunks of the planet being on fire, sometimes it can be difficult to even remember the vague and far off concept of “feel good”. And much as that is a really cheesy and terribly vague way to describe a film, I can’t find any other phrase that best describes The Peanut Butter Falcon.
Based around the greased up escape of Zack, a Down Syndrome wrestling fanatic sharing a room in an old people’s home with an ever cantankerous Bruce Dern, The Peanut Butter Falcon finds him out on the road, tagging along with Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a conflicted fisherman, on the run from the bullies he made pay. Obsessed with reaching the wrestling school of one Saltwater Redneck he’s watched infinite times on a 15 year old VHS tape, Tyler agrees to keep him safe until he reaches his hero.
We watch Zack and Tyler develop a truly, truly heart-warming friendship, an unlikely duo with their own secret handshake, manoeuvring their way through one narrow escape from death to the next. Trigger happy blind man? Check. Petrol station moonshine? Check. Backyard wrestling with Jake the Snake and Mick Foley cameos? Check. Chased down by his social worker Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), Zack teaches both that family comes in all shapes and sizes, no matter the arrangement of your chromosomes.
Produced by the same team that brought us Little Miss Sunshine, The Peanut Butter Falcon has exactly the same energy. Equal parts painful, hilarious, and tear-jerking, but always with the same sense of sweet, unrelenting hope.
Watch it, watch it again, and then tell everyone else you know to watch it too. Sophie Francois