Friday, 26 August 2016

Review: The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

There are some health-related movie themes forming just lately. 2015 was the year of children with cancer (The Fault in Our Stars, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), and I’m hailing 2016 as the year of carers for the disabled (Me Before You, the upcoming movie The Carer and of course The Fundamentals of Caring). After being slightly traumatised by Me Before You earlier this year, I’m not sure why I stuck this one on whilst flicking through Netflix, but perhaps I like to torture myself.  I was bored on a Sunday afternoon and then I saw Paul Rudd's face and had to give this a go!

Ben (Paul Rudd) is a retired writer who has been through a traumatic experience. To fill his time, he qualifies as a carer, and lands himself a job caring for a teenage boy named Trevor (Craig Roberts), who is suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (you totally had to google this!! Lies!). He has a set routine, mainly revolved around eating waffles and watching TV, and he has a fascination for American roadside attractions, his favourite being the world’s deepest pit, for how depressing it sounds.

Thankfully, The Fundamentals of Caring takes a ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ approach rather than something fully depressing, and soon into the movie, Ben takes Trevor on a road trip to see some of the sights Trevor has seen on TV. They also make an impromptu visit to see Trevor’s father who left when he was diagnosed at the age of 3, as he has been writing to Trevor ever since. Along the way they pick up a teenage girl on the run from her father (Selena Gomez) and a woman very close to giving birth (Megan Ferguson).  I don't know about you but I was on edge the whole time, I wasn't sure if this was a drama, a comedy or a dramedy so I was constantly panicking that something was going to happen to Trevor on the trip.  Part of me wants to watch it again so I can actually enjoy it for what it is now that I know what happens.


As Drama/Comedies go, the humour is dark, and mostly comes from Ben and Trevor’s banter with each other. Jokes about wiping arses are common, and on more than one occasion Trevor fakes choking and fitting, leaving Ben (and me! and me!) in an absolute state of panic. Haven’t you ever heard about the boy who cried wolf for goodness sake?! Although, this is exactly what I love the most about these kinds of movies. I can chuckle for the full runtime of a pure comedy, but these drama have those few absolute laugh out loud moments, and they end up being that much more memorable.  This had the same feeling for me as The Road Within, where the comedy moments were made all the more funny because of the dark drama on either side of it.

Still, the movie isn’t without fault. It’s a fairly short movie, and I’d have sat through another 20 minutes just to find out a little more about the supporting characters. It was a good idea to add to the cast rather than stick with Ben and Trevor, but I just didn’t care enough about the others. It’s not often I complain a movie isn’t long enough as well, normally I’m a fidget! I also felt something was lacking. There are certain key moments here dealing with trauma, loss and dejection, but they didn’t go quite deep enough to have me sobbing into my cup of tea. I felt those moments could have been ramped up a little, to pull on our heart strings a little more.  I was kind of glad they weren't ramped up this time, it was kind of nice to watch an emotional film without actually becoming a sobbing mess!!

I loved the chemistry between Roberts and Rudd, I wasn't sure about the addition of Selena Gomez to the group and I'm still not sure she added much value.  Mainly, as Allie suggested that we didn't get to know the supporting characters enough to actually care.


All in all though, I really enjoyed The Fundamentals of caring. I’ve always been a Paul Rudd fan but only noticed now how well he can handle a drama. Craig Roberts is one to watch out for, too. He was a delight to watch! I have to agree, I still want to watch it again though without being fully on the edge of my seat!!


  1. Fantastic review! I felt the same while watching the movie (the constant state of panic if something was going to happen to Trevor); I think the approach was great as it never feels gimmicky. The chemistry between Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts was great and it showed in their performance.

    1. Glad you agree. I'm almost glad me and Allie didn't watch it together, we would have talked through the whole thing to overcome the panic!
      - Jen