“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is one of those sweet, feel-good indie movies that rarely gets a wide release in theaters, but should.
Odd name aside, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” finally came to Rome Cinemas 8 this month and it proved to be an enjoyable film. It’s nothing to write home about, but the movie has a good message, some great performances and an overall uplifting attitude.
If nothing else, more movies like “The Peanut Butter Falcon” need to exist.
Zak is a 22-year-old with Down syndrome who has found himself a ward of the state and living in a retirement home, because the state doesn’t know what else to do with him. But he’s sick and tired of being cooped up where nobody wants him, so he breaks out and heads south, intent on joining a professional wrestling school he’s seen on video.
Zak quickly joins up with a good-hearted drifter whose on the run from the authorities, and the two new friends get up to some Mark Twain-inspired adventures through the Southern deltas.
Oh, and the Peanut Butter Falcon is Zak’s wrestling alter ego. It makes sense when you see it in the movie.
The messages and themes in “The Peanut Butter Falcon” are positive and life-affirming. It’s a movie about Zak getting to live life in spite of his disorder, and how his enthusiasm and good nature change those around him for the better — though he’s not treated as some magical figure He’s just human, like everybody else.
Actor Zack Gottsagen, who has Down syndrome in real life, is phenomenal as the main character, making the film all the more real. Hopefully he gets more roles in Hollywood, and more movies treat an actor with Down syndrome as an equal.
Shia LaBeouf has been on a quiet comeback recently, and he’s just as good as the drifter, Tyler. He’s sharp and deceptively sweet, the sort of tightly wound character that can’t help but blossom when someone as positive as Zak comes into his life. They make a great team. Actor Dakota Johnson rounds out the main cast as a solid addition.
And old school wrestling fans should delight when the likes of Mike Foley and Jake “The Snake” Roberts suddenly appear on screen. I was tickled pink at the cameos.
“Peanut Butter Falcon” is likely to fly under a lot of people’s radar, being a quiet indie movie. But it’s a good film and deserves to be seen. It’s a sweet story that doesn’t belittle Down syndrome, with a lead actor who deserves a big spotlight going forward.