“… emotionally heavy, yet still funny and charming movie that I think everyone should see.”
Today independent dramas are quickly becoming one of the more common types of movies you will stumble upon. Much like horror films, these movies either have to do something completely different with the genre or be “perfect” movies (not actually perfect, but as good as the genre allows) in order to have any sort of reputation. Luckily, The Fundamentals of Caring is the latter. The Fundamentals of Caring stars Paul Rudd as a writer turned caregiver as he embarks on his new job of caring for Trevor (played by Craig Roberts), a boy with a rare disability that left him wheelchair bound. The two then decide to go on a road trip to get the most out of life, and along the way they encounter different people who all have storied pasts.
The Fundamentals of Caring is a movie that has a lot of qualities that are hard for me to describe. I guess the best way to try and put my feelings into words is to say that the movie was very charming. The Fundamentals of Caring deals with very dark issues, but comes at them with signs of hope. Even though many of the characters often think that life is shit, there is always something (or someone) there to keep them going. Even though The Fundamentals of Caring is technically a drama film, it is funny as hell. The writing is absolutely stunning, managing to take any situation and give it a punchline. The comedy however does not impede on the drama as there are many times throughout this movie that leave you speechless and misty-eyed. The acting in The Fundamentals of Caring is superb; I don’t think better actors could have been chosen for the roles. In the lead you have Paul Rudd who is no stranger to comedy, and sometimes lets his improve side loose (specifically in the Slim Jim scene). But much like the writing, Paul Rudd’s comedic chops don’t get in the way of him giving a terribly heart wrenching performance. It’s hard not to feel for his character when the way Paul Rudd acts is so real. Then of course you have Craig Roberts (who I wasn’t really familiar with before this movie) doing an amazing job as Trevor. Much like Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts is able to deliver the dry wit of his character while still maintaining the emotional weight that keeps the story grounded. Even though I have been singing this moves praises there are a few things that I had slight issues with. The first of which was at the beginning of the film, specifically that the movie didn’t do a great job at conveying passage of time. To me it seemed that Paul Rudd’s character got the job as caregiver, and then in a week decided to go on a road trip. I know that this can’t be right because of how protective Trevor’s mother is shown to be; but it seems that way when watching the movie. Another issue I had was the weird song choice that occurs about halfway through the movie. I’m not going to give away any plot details, but there was a point in the movie where a Leonard Cohen song was played, and I felt that it didn’t really fit the tone of the scene. Finally there was almost a huge issue at the end of the movie; but it was narrowly avoided (I think). You see, one thing that bothers me about movies is the use of cliches. It’s kind of hypocritical of me to say because I like action movies so much, but it’s not really the basic cliches that bother me; it’s the cliches that I never really liked to begin with. The one that was (hopefully) narrowly missed in The Fundamentals of Caregiving is the “the main character was writing the story the whole time”. It’s not really a cliche that is used very often any more, but it is one that has always bothered me. On the bright side, The Fundamentals of Caring doesn’t necessarily have this cliche because the main character is shown writing things that we haven’t seen, and it is used more as an insight into the passage of time than a shitty end to a movie. I’m not completely convinced that the main character wasn’t “writing this movie”, but I liked the movie so much that I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Ultimately The Fundamentals of Caring is an emotionally heavy, yet still funny and charming movie that I think everyone should see.
I give The Fundamentals of Caring an A