Peanut Butter Falcon follows Zak, a man diagnosed with Down Syndrome who, after escaping the nursing home he was residing in, attempts to live his dream of attending a pro-wrestling camp. On his journey, he meets up with an outlaw Tyler, who joins Zak and becomes his mentor along the way.
The best thing about this film is their dedication to representing the mental disorder by casting an individual diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Many times in Hollywood, casting directors often feel it necessary to give a role reflecting a disorder to a performer who doesn’t have the disorder they’re representing. Zack Gottsagen, the gentleman playing Zak, does a great job with the character and gives such a dynamic representation towards the disorder.
The storytelling also showcases a great sense of place. The film demonstrates a very harsh world that very much mirrors our own but also seems to hold a distinctive setting. A morally fueled South which somehow does the impossible and has the audience believe that going to Florida is a good thing.
LaBeouf also does gives a charismatic performance as Tyler. The director made a great choice of only adding flashbacks to give the backstory of his troubled past as opposed to just stating it as exposition. As well as LaBeouf gives him a genuine warmth and charm that speaks to the actor given how different the character is to LaBeouf, who has a certain tendency to play himself.
The story isn’t surprising or plot-twisting in any way, however, the characters are the story with this film, driving every emotion and events that occur. The character piece feels authentic with every decision made and well written, with the audience forming a connection and realistic empathy with all the main characters, as opposed to the audience just viewing the events unfolding.
Peanut Butter Falcon does a great job giving awareness to a disorder typically glossed over as well as is a great character piece through and through. The story is funny, tear-inducing and heart-warming all at the same time and keeps that theme from the minute it starts to its credits.