It is without debate that Netflix has become the go to streaming service for film and television lovers of all ages. Once places like Blockbuster went bankrupt, streaming services began to take over the world. Mainly for television programming, Netflix has created a vast amount of new and exciting content, making primetime shows bite the dust. With shows like Orange is the New Black or House of Cards, Netflix has made the quality of television increase at a rapid rate. Although they have produced quite a few documentaries and television shows, they have, until this point, produced only a small handful of feature narratives. With their newest release, The Fundamentals of Caring, they have been able to prove at least one thing; Hollywood should be terrified.
Following Ben Benjamin (Paul Rudd) after the loss of his son, he is trying to deal with his wife leaving him, while also needing a job. After taking a course on personal caregiving, Ben finds himself taking care of Trevor (Craig Roberts), a teenage boy in a wheelchair who has been diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. Given between seven and ten years to live, Ben makes it his mission to take him on a road trip to see everything he wishes he could before his passing. Picking a few friends along the way, this film plays out as a slice of life and lessons about family and friendship. It is one of the best films I have seen in all of 2016 so far. Thus, Hollywood should be very worried about the quality they have been producing lately.
Actors/Actresses Are Getting Smarter
Selena Gomez was the biggest star in Disney a few years back and even she is taking far more serious roles, solidifying herself as a very talented young actress. Her chemistry with Craig Roberts was uncanny. Having troubles of her own, she is immediately engaged in him upon their first meet. That in mind, it is clear that she has left her fame and fortune at Disney in order to pursue a more compelling career. Summer blockbusters produced by Hollywood only make the kind of money due to the stars involved, the spectacle, or the fact that it is based on a book. When a film like The Surfs is released, nearing 600 million at the worldwide box office and then an original film like The Nice Guys can only conjure up less than 40 million, you know Hollywood is not the same as it used to be.
The Future of Film
The Fundamentals of Caring has far more heart and realism than anything I have seen this year so far, and I have seen quite a few films at the movies this year. When you can produce such a small film with such a small budget, translate a fantastic story, all while being on a streaming service for people to watch from the comfort of their own home, then why do movie theatres even exist anymore. Now, don't get me wrong, I am one who wishes to see everything in theatres, because that experience never gets old, but I just believe this is the direction we are headed. Regardless of that, on it's own, this film does so many things right.
The Chemistry and My Final Thoughts
Maybe it is just the fact that this film was perfectly cast, but everyone works so well together here than it almost seemed life-like. Craig Roberts and Paul Rudd share a bond that would almost seem unrealistic upon first glance, but their relationship grows so strongly that you feel yourself invested in every single scene. Even with excessive raunchy dialogue, the scenarios feel real and you can tell that the director had fun on set, while caring very much for the story at hand. Everyone involved with this film brought their A-Game.
Overall, The Fundamentals of Caring is a thought-provoking, funny, heartwarming, and emotional journey all at the same time, and I could not recommend this film more. Personally, they hit every right mark here and they could have easily made this a very disrespectful picture, due to the main story. If you are looking for a film that will make you cry and then immediately provide levity with a joke right after, then you will very quickly fall in love with this film. It may not be for everyone, but I can confidently say that you will not dislike it either. I loved every second of The Fundamentals of Caring. It is just over 90-minutes and will always be available to stream on Netflix. If you are ever browsing for something to watch, you will not regret this one.
Review By: KJ Proulx