The Peanut Butter Falcon ★★★★½

The feel-good movie of the year, The Peanut Butter Falcon tells the heartwarming story of a kind-hearted man with Down Syndrome, who runs away from his care home in hopes of pursuing his dream to become a professional wrestler, nicknamed The Peanut Butter Falcon. Along his journey, Zak crosses paths with an on-the-run fisherman, played by Shia LaBeouf, who becomes his coach/mentor, and they form a special bond that was simply wonderful to watch. I adored this movie and wish it got more attention because it seriously deserves it and I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like this. The cast is great: this is the best I’ve seen Shia LaBeouf be in a long time, Dakota Johnson was great as a care home employee trying to bring Zak back, Bruce Dern, John Hawkes, and Thomas Haden Church deliver solid supporting work, but the star of the show here is Zack Gottsagen. This story was written for him and it’s a testament to how much we underestimate disabled performers; he absolutely shines here and provided some incredible heart and ad-libbed a line so funny, it was the hardest I’ve laughed in a while! This is the feature-length directorial debuts for writers Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz, and I commend them for mostly steering away from the sappy conventions a film like this usually entails. There’s one moment in particular at the end that completely caught me off-guard and I don’t think my heart could’ve handled the ramifications. The Peanut Butter Falcon is a fantastic buddy movie and it put a huge smile on my face throughout!

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