The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)



“Maybe we could be friends and buddies... bro dogs... and chill. Have a good time!”“Maybe we could be friends and buddies... bro dogs... and chill. Have a good time!”

“Maybe we could be friends and buddies… bro dogs… and chill. Have a good time!”


In a crammed year that saw the release of Marvel studios culmination of a saga, one of the better films released is an indie film from two first time directors. Hollywood isn’t all just nostalgia based, big franchise features, there have been incredible films told that rely solely on the fundamental strength of its story, character and emotion. The Peanut Butter Falcon is one of those films. Hollywood has become increasingly more inclusive and diverse and that includes people of color, women, and people with disabilities. 

The Peanut Butter Falcon follows a young man named Zak (Zack Gottsagen) whom has been failed by his family and state. He’s been living in an assisted living facility because the government doesn’t have the slightest clue of where to place him. Any and every chance Zak gets, he ties to escape with the help of his friends trading pudding for distractions. His only grasp on life and society is an old wrestling tape he watches over and over featuring his favorite wrestler The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church) Zak – labeled a flight risk by his care taker Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) finally escapes thanks to another friend Carl (Bruce Dern). 

Zak meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) who initially turns Zak away and wants nothing to do with him. Tyler is on the run from bad people and he sees Zak as something that could only slow him down. It’s Tyler’s relationship with his brother Mark (John Bernthal) who passed away in a drunk driving accident that brings him back to Zak and making sure he looks out for him. 

“You got a good-guy heart. You can’t do sh*t about it, that’s just who you are. You’re a hero.”

The strongest part about The Peanut Butter Falcon is Zak and Tyler’s relationship. It’s a reluctant relationship that blossoms over the course of the films adventure. Zak is a person with Down Syndrome but he’s incredibly capable to not only escape but to make his own decisions about his life. He’s headstrong and truly values the importance of independence. Caging someone only makes their fight for freedom more valuable and necessary. As much as this film is about the friendship between Tyler and Zak, Zak easily steals the show. 

Whenever Zack has a line it’s completely mesmerizing – all the focus is on him. He’s able to completely hold his own next to a veteran like Shia. As Keanu Reeves and Matthew McConaughey have had their resurgences in recent years, Shia is having one of his own renaissances after having a tough few years out of the spotlight. Slowly Shia has crept back into Hollywood and our homes taking on smaller projects like Fury and his semi-autobiographical film Honey Boy. What is truly magical is Shia and Zack’s relationship outside of the film. The bond they have goes beyond Hollywood and is something that is heartwarmingly special that can only last a lifetime. 

First time directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz who also penned the screenplay make the films focus on the story and the characters who inhabit the world. The story is more on the simplistic side, but it doesn’t take away from how meaningful these characters are. What could have been explored more is Tyler’s relationship with his brother Mark. The flashbacks are enough of an example to make the theme of family one of the more important elements of the film. We don’t get to see how much of an impact Mark has on Tyler but in turn their relationship is the driving force for how Tyler treats Zak. Zak has nobody, he’s completely alone but friends are family you get to choose. What’s even better is that Tyler and Eleanor choose Zak.

“Tyler, I am going to give you all of my wishes for my birthday.”

Eleanor’s character could also have used a bit more to actually do. Her main goal is to make sure Zak is safe and taken care of but once she sees Tyler is doing exactly that (minus drinking homemade whiskey and dancing on the beach) she has no real purpose behind her. Eleanor is simply the third wheel on a two-wheel bike. That’s not to take away from Dakota’s performance, her character is given nothing to do for 3 quarters of the film. 

The locations and cinematography are breathtaking as the trio float to their destination. Besides the looming threat of Duncan (John Hawkes) and Ratboy (Michael Wayne Atha) on their tails, there is no real danger facing them. Frankly, there doesn’t need to be. You will be perfectly content watching Tyler and Zak interact with each other and mostly just have fun. There isn’t a scene in this film that won’t give you a big smile from ear to ear.  

The film is more about the journey than it is about the outcome. Yes, we get to see Zak’s dream come true, but it’s because of the journey that makes the final scene feel authentic. Let’s face it we all wanted Zak to crush the finishing move in the ring and he does with so much elegance and ferocity.

Overall, The Peanut Butter Falcon is a charming heartwarming story about friendship and family. Zack is the heart and soul of the film while Shia is the backbone. The two performances drive this film and make it feel like anything is possible. The Peanut Butter Falcon proves that anyone can do anything no matter what limitation is placed on a person. Zak doesn’t let his Down Syndrome affect his dreams or aspirations. Most importantly, this film teaches the importance of a person’s heart, not the materialistic and not what’s on the surface. We are all human and this film shows us exactly how to be human to others. Lastly, the film teaches us that the first rule is always…Party. If I were to rate The Peanut Butter Falcon, I’d rate it a 4.2 out of 5.

So, tell me guys, have you seen The Peanut Butter Falcon and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think. 

The Peanut Butter Falcon is written & directed by Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz is Rated PG-13 and has an 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Peanut Butter Falcon was released on August 9, 2019 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. The Peanut Butter Falcon can be bought by online retailers such as iTunes, Google, Amazon and Vudu.

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*I do not own these photos used in this article; all rights reserved to the copyright holder*

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