One of my favorite feel-good movies just crashed the Netflix top 10 — and it’s 95% on Rotten Tomatoes

(L-R) Zack Gottsagen as Zak, Dakota Johnson as Eleanor and Shia LaBeouf as Tyler in "The Peanut Butter Falcon" now streaming on Netflix
(Image credit: Atlaspix / Alamy Stock Photo / Roadside Attractions)

Sometimes the right movie comes along at the right time, and that was definitely the case for me with “The Peanut Butter Falcon." This delightful comedy-drama appeared at a period in my life when I needed a little boost, and it provided just that. 

The movie celebrates its 5th anniversary later this year and has recently arrived on Netflix U.S. where it’s making quite an impression. As of Thursday, May 9, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” is ranked No.6 in the Netflix most-watched list ahead of high-profile favorites like “Blended” and “The Equalizer” as well as pacing ahead of the terrible blockbuster “The Great Wall” (seriously, why is that in the streamer's top 10?) 

“The Peanut Butter Falcon” flew a little under the radar upon release in 2019, so I’m delighted it’s getting a richly deserved warm reception on Netflix. But if you want to know more before adding it to your watchlist, here’s why you need to watch this feel-good movie…

What is ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ about? 

“The Peanut Butter Falcon” focuses on the unlikely friendship between a trio of likable characters. The heart of the movie is Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from his state-run care facility to chase an outlandish dream of becoming a professional wrestler under the guidance of his hero, The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). 

On the road, Zak meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a small-time crook on the run from the law, and the two become fast friends. Tyler teaches Zak various life skills and takes up a role as his coach. Meanwhile, in pursuit of Zak is Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), a kind nursing home employee, who is convinced to join the pair on their journey. 

Alongside its three leads, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” also features John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Jon Bernthal and even rapper Yelawolf. It’s an eccentric cast, and the range of talent involved suits the movie’s "band of misfits coming together" vibe.

‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ reviews — here’s why critics love it 

“The Peanut Butter Falcon” was warmly embraced by critics. It holds an impressive 95% rating on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, and its audience score is even higher at 96%. Those are the highest scores of any movie currently in the Netflix top 10, which is a real testament to the quality of this comedy-drama.   

Critics were particularly impressed with the performance of Shia LaBeouf. “This is LaBeouf at his best, stripped down to his bare elements and bookended by two luminous performances from Gottsagen and Johnson,” said Beth Webb of Empire Magazine.

The Wrap’s Yolanda Machado called it “A beautiful story about human connection, heroes, and finding the joy of simply living your truth” and Peter Debruge of Variety labeled it “A feel-good niche indie with its priorities in the right place.”

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle was a little more mixed, but overall fell on the positive side of the scale: “‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ is a nice little movie that barely goes anywhere, but audiences, in a certain mood, might be willing to drift along with it.”

Should you stream ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ on Netflix?  

The short answer is yes, you should 100% stream “The Peanut Butter Falcon” on Netflix. 

It’s the perfect pick when you’ve had a less-than-stellar day and want a movie that will put a big smile on your face. Granted, its slow(ish) pacing might not appeal to viewers demanding a twist-every-minute thrill ride, but give it a chance and the movie’s engaging characters brought to life by wonderful performances will stay with you long after the credits roll. So long as you’re in the mood for something a little low-stakes, it’s hard to believe you won’t also come to love this charming flick. 

“The Peanut Butter Falcon” isn’t the only critical darling that has arrived on Netflix this month. Check out our roundup of all the new to Netflix movies with high RT scores for even more top movies on the world's most popular streaming service

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.