The Peanut Butter Falcon | Chicago Reader
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The Peanut Butter Falcon

A teenage boy with Down syndrome (newcomer Zack Gottsagen) escapes from the Virginia assisted living facility where he’s lived since losing his family; hitting the road, he heads toward North Carolina with the dream of tracking down his hero, a washed-up semi-pro wrestler called the Saltwater Redneck. This amiable road movie takes off when the hero picks up with a temperamental fisherman (Shia LaBeouf) on the lam; the two leads develop a charming rapport that gives the lightweight story an undeniable emotional heft. Writer-directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz walk a fine line throughout—the film, which trades frequently in low-key wish-fulfillment fantasies, feels like it could turn sappy at any moment, but somehow it never does. This may have as much to do with the colorful eastern seaboard settings as it does the filmmakers’ sensitive handling of the main character’s developmental disability; the film feels authentic as well as sincere. With Dakota Johnson, Bruce Dern, and Thomas Haden Church.



  • Mike Schwartz


  • Shia LaBeouf
  • Dakota Johnson
  • Zack Gottsagen
  • Thomas Haden Church
  • Bruce Dern
  • Jon Bernthal
  • John Hawkes
  • Anne-Marie Owens
  • Rob Thomas
  • Tim Zajaros
  • Yelawolf
  • Jonathan Williams
  • Deja Dee
  • Lee Spencer
  • Mark Helms
  • Michael Berthold
  • Bruce Henderson
  • Wayne de Hart
  • Susan McPhall
  • Jake "The Snake" Roberts


  • Mike Schwartz
  • Tyler Nilson


  • Aaron Scotti
  • Albert Berger
  • Carmella Casinelli
  • Christopher Lemole
  • David Thies
  • Lije Sarki
  • Manu Gargi
  • Matthew J. Malek
  • Michelle Sie Whitten
  • Ron Yerxa
  • T Bone Burnett
  • Tim Shriver
  • Tim Zajaros

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