Have you ever come across a film that speaks to you, that makes you question your values, captures your soul and heightens your imagination? For me, ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ is that film. It has the ability to help you change the way you see life.
The film is about Zak, a young man with Down syndrome who escapes from an assisted living facility where he lives, to follow his dream of training to be a professional wrestler. While on the run he makes an unlikely friendship with a fisherman who is also running away.
As the two men embark on an adventure to find Zak’s wrestling hero, they form an unlikely bond, a bond that turns into a beautiful friendship, whilst being chased by Zak’s social worker, whose intention is to send Zak back into care. As the story unfolds, she begins to question her own values through Zak’s eyes, and decides to take Zak’s journey with him.
Just like the rest of us, Zak has dreams. He wants to be treated with inclusivity in the same way as everyone else; he wants to be accepted in a world that isn’t always accepting of people who are different, and who deal with a disability. The Peanut Butter Falcon not only reminds us of disability in its wider context, but it also shows us there can be kindness, compassion and understanding for those of us who deal with a disability.
I resonated with this wonderful film for two reasons; I too live with a disability and because it reminds me of the stigmas and prejudices I, like others with a disability, continue to face in our everyday lives, in what is an able-bodied world. The reality for anyone with a physical, mental or emotional disability is that we don’t automatically fit in, although we hope others will allow us to.
This film highlights disability and what it feels like to live with one, it also highlights that disability shouldn’t define us. It serves to remind us that we are all the same, that each of us should strive to ensure everyone is inclusive, not exclusive, and to bring understanding where disability may not always be seen in this way.
For me, this film not only captured my imagination with its story of adventure, but it also tugged at my heart strings. It shows us we can become kinder and be better people, and that we can all choose to make a difference to those who simply need that difference to be made.