What Can 'The Peanut Butter Falcon' Script Teach You About Storytelling?

Imagine a movie so cute that you can literally recommend it to everyone.

It's really hard to find a movie that the whole family can watch. You want it to be fun, interesting, educational, and not offensive or too offensive. When I recommend films to people, I try to keep all of these things in mind.

But when I saw The Peanut Butter Falcon, I finally knew of a title that exceeded those reservations.

I would tell everyone to see this film. I think it could make her a better person. And I'm not hyperbolic– –If you've seen it, then you know.

After the premiere at SXSW, The Peanut Butter Falcon, which won the audience award, is now streamed on Amazon Prime. Of course, none of this would have happened without a great script.

Today I want to go over the script of the film and talk about what makes it such a wonderful story and piece of writing.

Download the Peanut Butter Falcon Script PDF!

The Peanut Butter Falcon is an adventure story that begins when Zak (Zach Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, runs away from a nursing home he lives in to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler and doing wrestling -The Salt Water School to visit Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). Circumstances beyond their control make Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), an outlaw on the run, Zak's unlikely coach and ally. They team up with Zak's sister, Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), a friendly nursing home worker with a story of her own, to guide her on her journey.

The film was written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz.

Let's talk about something in a moment. The representation of people with Down syndrome and people with all disabilities across Hollywood is miserable. We rarely see storylines in which they are the main characters.

A lot has to do with the misunderstanding that people can't do the work. That's wrong and wrong. I hope the success of this film dispels these myths. Let's look at a few other things that this movie does really well.

The characters

The best characters have clear motifs and defined arcs. Well, in this movie everyone has a mission. Zak tries to get to a wrestling school, Tyler tries to escape, and Elanor tries to get Zak back.

The goals are clear and precise, and give us a lot more space to examine what these people are made of. We learn that Tyler has emotional baggage early on. He was looked after by his mother, who has since passed away. Now Tyler is aimless.

On the other hand, Zak is, he has no one to look after him so he was left behind in an age community.

Together they display this pain and find solace in each other.

Eleanor is someone who wants the best for Zak but also needs to see him as his own person who doesn't need to be constantly pampered.

There's real chemistry among the cast that makes these things pop.

The topic

The theme of the film is simple and was said early on by Bruce Dern's character, "Friends are the family you choose." Throughout the story we see how this theme is expressed in dialogue and action. Zak wants to be a wrestling villain because of his birth. Tyler has to help him realize this isn't the way he actually feels. But the theme is also reflected in Tyler. He also considers himself a villain, but Zak, who becomes part of his friendship family, shows him that he can also be the hero of his own story.

Eleanor's search for Zak proves this again and again. She wants him to come home where no one is related to him, but everyone cares about him.

The dialogue

One of the things that blew this movie up was the dialogue. Everything feels natural and there are no wasted words or language. I want to look at the speech I mentioned earlier. The way it is written just hums.

I also like the way the scene is written from the point of view of the action. We don't have too much there. There is a lot of room for the actors to find their own voice and embody the people on the site.

Sorry for the sporadic image sizes, but you can see how the story and the words really work together. We get a clear feeling for the other two spheres here. The theme and characters. These are people on a journey. What I love about road movies is that you can take the characters on an external journey and bring those beats together. This dialogue is at the beginning of the actual journey– –We know how each person begins.

Sum it up…

Ultimately, all three elements work together to deliver a great experience. A film is always the sum of its parts. So try to make the building blocks as well as you did in The Peanut Butter Falcon.

So much of what we talk about at No Film School when it comes to screenwriting is wrapped up in our new eBook. It will also help you create a 10 week writing schedule that will actually finish your script.


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