The Peanut Butter Falcon is an adventure story set in the world of a modern Mark Twain that begins when Zak (22), a young man with Down syndrome, runs away from the nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler by attending the wrestling school, The Salt Water Redneck. Through circumstances beyond their control ,Tyler (32), a small-time outlaw on the run, becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (28), a kind nursing home employee with a story of her own, to join them on their journey
Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) can’t forgive himself for a car crash that changed his family forever. Guided by pent-up anger and financial struggles, he catches a greedy, gnarly fishing company’s gear on fire and steals a boat to hide out on the local North Carolina river.
Five minutes into his heist, Tyler discovers Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a down syndrome man who escaped a local assisted living facility and stashed out on the boat in hopes of hunting down his favorite wrestler: The Saltwater Redneck. Tyler knows that his safest escape from the law is in Florida, and his map reveals that The Saltwater Redneck’s wrestling school is only a pitstop on his escape trip, so Tyler agrees to let Zak tag along.
Rather than highlight the differences in a character with Down syndrome, The Peanut Butter Falcon unveils the similarities between Zak and runaway Tyler. Regardless of genetic mishaps or an ugly past, this film reminds us that everyone deserves a second chance to be a hero. Meanwhile, Tyler discovers redemption and Zak finds a true friend.
Though this film plays key themes of forgiveness, friendship and acceptance, brawling violence and heavy language consequentially earn The Peanut Butter Falcon the Dove-Approved Seal for Ages 18+.
The Dove Take:
While The Peanut Butter Falcon includes some roughhousing and even rougher language, this story reminds us that our differences aren’t so different and that all of us need love and forgiveness.