The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)

An entertaining and heartwarming film with a strong message – review by a Croatian high-school student

“A Falcon is a falcon even peanut-buttered”

The Peanut Butter Falcon is adventure/drama movie about two friends, one helping another to achieve his dreams. Zack (Zack Gottsagen), a 22-year-old with Down syndrome, escapes from his nursing home where he is cared for by Eleanor (Dakota Johnson). He dreams of becoming a professional wrestler and attending the wrestling school of his hero, the Salt Water Redneck. Soon he meets Tyler (Shia LeBeouf), a fisherman. They soon become friends and Tyler promises him that he will bring him to the wrestling school. They have fun through the whole movie. Tyler helps Zack to create his own wrestling persona called The Peanut Butter Falcon and that makes Zack feel more confident. Tyler lost his brother and he starts to love Zack just as if he was his brother. Eleanor finds them and wants to take Zack back to the nursing home but Zack and Tyler have bonded. They find the Salt Water Redneck and Zack gets the chance to fight in a ring just like his role model. Zack wins the fight but the fishermen who ware after Tyler, beat Tyler almost to death. At the end of the movie Eleanor and Zack are waiting in the hospital. The next scene shows all three of them going to Florida.  

Directors, Tyler Nielson and Michael Schwartz met Zack Gottsagen, a Down syndrome star of this movie. Zack told them he wanted to be a movie star and they came up witha movie idea and Zack would play the main role. The theme of the movie is inspired by Zack who has achieved his dreams despite his disability. Some critics said that they expected more from this movie. Most of critics say that it is a very good and emotional movie. They praised Zack performance saying that he played an earnest, unfiltered version of himself. They say that Sia LeBeouf did a great job highlighting Zack in the movie. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 96% based on 196 reviews, with an average rating of 7.51/10. The Peanut Butter Falcon made 22 million USD box office worldwide and it became the highest grossing independent film of 2019.

Educational aspects of the film

As being said before, LeBeouf did great job highlighting Zack in the movie. LeBeouf, being professional actor didn’t stole the shine from Zack. LeBeouf invited Zack to Oscars 2020 to present the best live action short film award. Zack made history by being first Down syndrome person to present award at Oscars. Zack showed great acting and broke stereotypes that people with Down syndrome can’t do this or that. Directors said that one of the reasons why they made this movie is that there are not many movies starring people with special needs. The thing that I love about this movie is that although Zack had been discriminated most of his life Tyler made him feel capable of anything. And that’s how we should treat everyone with special needs, and that’s what this movie is really about. I rate this movie a 4/5 being  somewhat predictable and expecting more from the two directors in the aspect of making their movie a little bit more emotional.

Written by Ivona Ascic, attending Vocational Secondary School of Economics in Djakovo, Croatia. A film and animal lover; a participant in the Erasmus+ project “Entrepreneurial Young Citizens of Modern Europe”, whose aim is to raise awarenss about integration and understanding of people with disabilities.

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