Left with heart full after watching this film

I’m taking a bit of a departure from my usual food posts to share something very near and dear to my heart, spreading the message of inclusion and seeing people with disabilities thriving in life.

I first heard about the film “The Peanut Butter Falcon” from a friend who sent me a message on Facebook. She had read the synopsis of this heartwarming film and saw it starred an actor with Down Syndrome and immediately thought of me. I was immediately intrigued and thought, I should see this film with my son Nicholas who is 21 and has Down Syndrome.

Just a month or so after hearing about it from her, I received an invitation from Best Buddies, an organization Nicholas is very active with that advocates and assists people with special needs in all facets of their lives, to attend a free screening of the film at Aventura Mall.

What an emotional ride that film. The lead actor Zack Gottsagen was outstanding, as were Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church, John Hawkes and Bruce Dern, who round out the cast.

It’s obvious in the film that Zack is taking them all on a journey, a journey of self-discovery that’s open, honest and has no filter. Very much the way people with Down Syndrome live their life. I don’t want to give it all away here, you need to see the film for yourself and once you do, I dare you to tell me it didn’t leave a lasting impression.

After the screening there was a wonderful bonus, a Q&A with Zack and the film’s writers/directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz. The camaraderie these three share was evident in their easygoing nature as they fielded questions. Nilson and Schwartz first met Zack at a camp for people with special needs and were immediately taken by him.

Turns out Zack attended a performing arts school and has taught acting. He came up with the movie title and improvised many of the movie scenes. When Nilson and Schwartz pointed those scenes out it was obvious Zack’s fellow scene actors took the cue and ran with it. Those are some of the most memorable.

I loved the film so much I want to see it again and I applaud Tyler and Michael for taking a chance on Zack and writing such a loving story. Read the synopsis of the film and more here.

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