“The Peanut Butter Falcon” (Roadside)
By Catholic News Service
Heartwarming drama, primarily set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, in which a young man with Down syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) and no family to care for him escapes the retirement home where the state has warehoused him for lack of a more suitable facility and takes to the road. He crosses paths with a down-on-his-luck crab fisherman (Shia LaBeouf) who’s being pursued by two lowlife rivals (John Hawkes and rapper Yelawolf). Though his new companion is initially gruff, the two bond and the angler agrees to help the lad achieve his dream of meeting his idol, a professional wrestler (Thomas Haden Church). As the duo shares Tom and Huck-like adventures, a sympathetic caregiver from the old-age home (Dakota Johnson) is on their trail.
Directors and co-writers Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz handle their Southern Gothic-tinged story with a light and dexterous touch. The result is a an aesthetically accomplished, implicitly pro-life movie that subtly but resolutely upholds the dignity of all. A good deal of gritty talk, though justified by the context, probably puts this off-limits even for older teens, despite its valuable message.
Brief partial nudity, mature themes, a few uses of profanity, at least one rough term, pervasive crude and some crass language, a couple of obscene gestures. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.