The Fundamentals of Caring movie full length review - The relationship of a disabled kid and his care taker is tested on a ridiculous road trip to the world's deepest pit.
This new Netflix original film that seemed to come out of nowhere was only a means of procrastination for me, so you can imagine my surprise when it turned out to be one of the best films I've seen in a while.
Everything about this movie works. The characterization, the performances, the tone, I cannot praise it enough.
Paul Rudd plays Ben Benjamin, a writer who, after suffering a huge loss, takes a class to be a care taker. He becomes the care taker of a disabled kid called Trevor. Trevor, portrayed by Craig Roberts, is an isolated creature of habit with a weird sense of humor. The two get along instantly and decide to go on a road trip to the world's deepest pit to get Trevor out of his shell and into the world.
First of all the characters are all very interesting and even the smaller ones have quite some depth to them. Selena Gomez's character Dot has the one-sided character traits of a rebellious teen, yet her elaborate back-story and interaction with the other characters make it worth your while. Ben Benjamin has a complicated history that is slowly revealed to the audience throughout the film, but that doesn't affect the audience's view of the likable character we've come to know in the present day story. It only adds to what is already there, which makes for a wonderfully intriguing character. But the best developed character by far is Trevor. His humor and his relationship with Ben are ultimately what make this film great. His problems with his father and him growing up constantly worrying for his life are dark emotions wrapped together in a sarcastic, down to earth kid, who on top of it all is also a normal teenager. He is way more just the disabled kid.
Speaking of his disability, I love how little this is discussed in the film. Trevor doesn't get sick to the point of almost dying, he doesn't have major problems with his disease, it's just there. Of course it is a big part of the film, as it is a big part of people's lives, but the film isn't centered around it. It is a movie about the relationship between a boy and his care taker, in which his illness plays no part. He might try to give Ben the finger and fail miserably because he's physically unable to raise his fingers, but the effect of this is comedic rather than sad. This adds to the lovely lighthearted tone of the film.
Don't get me wrong, there are enough things happening in this film that will make you cry, but they aren't presented in a dramatic way. The reason the audience cares about what happens is because we care about the characters, who we've grown to love because of the comedy. While some of the events are truly tragic, the film stays away from sob stories. This lighthearted, upbeat tone is perfect for making the film accessible for a bigger audience and it also ironically makes the heartbreaking events more? heartbreaking.
The execution of the film definitely does justice to the wonderful story and the wonderful characters. The chemistry between Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts is what the entire film stands on, and it's perfect. Rob Burnett has done an amazing job in both writing and directing the movie. The shots used really add to the comedic tone and on top of that it's also just really pretty to look at. This is unexpected from a film that mostly relies on dialogue, and a welcome change from the generic camera work that usually comes with the genre.
"The Fundamentals of Caring" is definitely worth your while. The interesting, almost tormented characters have such silly adventures are brought in such a lighthearted way that this film will have you laughing and crying at the same time. I would recommend this film to everyone!