The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

As we all know, Netflix offers a wealth of original television shows, but occasionally they boast Netflix Original movies. The Fundamentals of Caring is a ‘Netflix Original’ that was released earlier this year in the summer, featuring the combination of Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts and Selena Gomez.

The quick wit on show from Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts is one of the real joys in this film, as they become instrumental in each other’s lives in a short space of time. Paul Rudd’s Ben becomes Craig Robert’s Trevor caregiver, after Ben pursues a career change from being a writer. Amid this career change for Ben, he is also being pressured by his anxious wife to sign their divorce papers. He meets Trevor and his mother Elsa (Jennifer Elhe) who continually stresses how hard it is to care for Trevor and reels off his medication for every day.

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Craig Roberts play Trevor excellently, a boy who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of three, but is still quick-witted and takes every chance to try and push Ben to the end of his tether, resulting in some hilarious verbal bouts.

Primarily The Fundamentals of Caring is surrounding by the relationship that is built between Ben and Trevor and them two bringing the best out of each other. I feel that Ben also is trying to show Trevor that even though he does suffer from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, it shouldn’t debilitate him from seeing the world. Which leads to the Ben and Trevor taking a road trip to see (according to Trevor) ‘America’s dumbest roadside attractions’ culminating in ‘The World’s Deepest Pit’.

Trevor has never been an hour away from his home, since his diagnosis and as the trip wears on, Trevor becomes more comfortable with being away from home and seeing new things for the first time. Paul Rudd’s Ben also goes on an interesting journey, from the cynical, life-hating man at the beginning to the selfless man as he picks up Dot and Peaches along the way on their road trip. (Selena Gomez and Megan Ferguson, respectively)

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These characters are in direct correlation with enjoyment as well, because they are believable but also genuine such as the genuine teenage performance from Craig Roberts. They seem to have fun on-screen as well, as the chemistry builds primarily between the two in this triumph of the human spirit tale.

As this film is primarily comedy, it does stand up to the comedic task put before it, because it doesn’t reach out for the crass, or vulgar stick, but prefers to use the wit and bluntness of Craig Roberts and Paul Rudd. Add in the situational use of Trevor’s wheelchair when Ben is trying to care for him and you’ve got even more chuckles. Of course, it doesn’t end there as Ben tries to take Trevor on an adventure of firsts, again culminating in laughs.

(the teeniest, tiny plot spoiler is ahead)

Trevor plays a clever game throughout The Fundamentals of Caring as he asks everyone he encounters to pick a number between 1 and 3,500. Rob Burnett included this cleverly, as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy affects 1 in 3,500 people, which doesn’t become clear until close to the end, but was an excellent use of this number.

(no more plot spoilers – even though it was completely insignificant)

The Fundamentals of Caring was incredibly enjoyable for the perfect running time of 93 minutes as the chemistry oozes out of the film between Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts and their very genuine characters. Not only this, the comedy that emits from the screen, but also the undertaking of the journey of ‘firsts’ with Trevor is really enjoyable, from his first Slim Jim to his First Date with dot.

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I’m not a huge lover of Netflix Original movies because I simply love the feeling of going to the cinema, but The Fundamentals of Caring is a life-affirming film if I’ve ever seen one. This is probably down to the great performances from the leading males, but everything works from their ridiculous road trip to their seemingly infectious smiles throughout the trip.

You May Also Like:

I’m going to try something new, where I recommend a double-bill film that will work or contrast with the subsequent reviewed film here.

My first one for The Fundamentals of Caring is Untouchable, the French foreign language film that was simply outstanding and follows a similar story the one above. Although Untouchable is based on a true story, it doesn’t take anything away from the performances and the connection to the characters told by Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet. If you enjoyed The Fundamentals of Caring then chances are you’ll enjoy Untouchable tenfold.

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