The Netflix exclusive, The Fundamentals of Caring, is proof again that the streaming service giant is heading the right direction, offering more and more original content across all genres.
This film was written and directed by Rob Burnett, the man best known for writing and producing the Late Night show with David Letterman. He did a great job of bringing to life a story with character and managed to stay on the good side of Drama and Comedy. While some might get a feeling of déjà vu, in connection to “Untouchable”, a movie with a similar premise, this film does a very good job of setting its own style look (just like Olivier Assaya does with Clouds of Sils Maria).
With Trevor (Craig Roberts) in the spotlight as a boy with duchenne muscular dystrophy that hides his true self in a sea of sarcastic and sometimes quite grim jokes, and Ben (Paul Rudd) as a writer turned caregiver after losing his son in a tragic accident, the movie portrays the evolution of their relationship. They both have certain things that they need to face, Trevor with his insecurities and the absence of a father, and Ben to accept that the death of his son was just an accident.
As the movie progresses, they find themselves on a road-trip, a previously impossible idea given the over-protective mother of Trevor, Elsa (Jennifer Ehle). Along their trip towards the “deepest pit in the world” their connection grows even stronger, but not without a few bumps along the way. Luckily, they keep running into Dot (Selena Gomez), a lone teen looking to get to Denver where she would start her new life, which mends the fences between the two with her “very honest” and blunt personality.
Further along the journey they pick up Peaches (Megan Ferguson), a pregnant lady in distress whose car breaks down, forcing her to hitchhike, but fortunately meets the trio. She later gives birth with the help of Ben on the bottom of the “deepest pit in the world”, the same place where Ben reaches the end of his healing process regarding the loss of his son. Just before that, Trevor finally meets his father and realises that he’s not been receiving letters from him, but that these were only in his name and written by his mother. Finally, as Paul finds that the car following them was the worrying father of Dot, who was just trying to make sure that his daughter gets to Denver safely. She then leaves the group and lets her father drive her there as they figure out their own issues. All of this while things heat up between Trevor and Dot, with them even going on a date, boosting the morale of the trip and of Trevor especially.
What started as a buddy flick, progresses quickly into what has to be the best that Netflix released in terms of exclusive indie-like films. Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez, and Megan Ferguson, all do a great job of bringing the story to life, making their characters seem as real as possible.