Peanut Butter Falcon flies into theaters


Jack Wolfe

ZACK. Most of the film was based on Zacks personal interests. Zack’s main interest is wrestling, just like his character on the screen. “We got more heart than any other movie out there, I can tell you that for sure,” said Shia Lebouf.

When going to a movie theater filled with giant surround sound speakers where you can hear every explosion and gunshot in the upcoming action blockbuster, it is easy to miss the beauty and nuance of just two friends on a raft, drifting towards their dreams with nothing but the world to hold them back.

The Peanut Butter Falcon is a film that follows Zak (played by Zack Gottsagen), a 20-year-old man with down syndrome stuck in a nursing home, who desperately wants to go attend a wrestling school created by his idol The SaltWater Redneck. When Zak escapes from his nursing home he runs into Tyler (played by Shia LaBeouf) an outlaw on the run from a rival fishing group. The two quickly become friends as they go on a Mark Twain-esque adventure towards the south.

One of the most prevalent themes throughout the film is about acceptance and how we treat others who are different from ourselves. Whether it’s people judging Zak because of his down syndrome or when Tyler judges Elanor (played by Dakota Johnson) on her appearance. 

Another theme displayed in The Peanut Butter Falcon is friendship, by saying that “friends are the family that you choose.” This theme is most notably attributed to Tyler who, as we see through multiple flashbacks, lost his brother Mark who was the closest thing to family he ever had. It is warming to the heart o see how he starts off as an aloof strongman to eventually becoming a big brother to Zak as Mark was to him.

What is even more heartwarming is the story behind the movie. Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, the writer, and directors for the movie met Gottsagen eight years ago at a disabilities camp. Nilson and Schwartz were eating dinner with Gottsagen when he told them that he wanted to be a famous movie star.

Nilson and Schwartz were sad to break the news that there were not many parts in Hollywood that are written for people with down syndrome. As a result, Nilson and Schwartz decided to make a feature film to give an opportunity for Gottsagen to become an actor.

“Zack should have the same opportunities as any other actor in this industry,” Nilson said in the video The Peanut Butter Falcon “Zack’s Story.”