Lesser-known Netflix original movie deserves more love

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If you have a Netflix streaming account or are even remotely connected to anyone who does — odds are you’ve either seen or are well aware of two of summer 2018’s biggest movies. One, in my opinion, was very high-quality and definitely worth watching (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) and the other (The Kissing Booth) was not. But there’s one Netflix original that I’ll recommend to anyone that’s looking for a good movie, and that’s The Fundamentals of Caring, which premiered on Netflix in 2016.

Even though it features megastar Selena Gomez in a supporting role, The Fundamentals of Caring never reached nearly the fanfare that last summer’s hits did. Which, let’s be honest, may have something to do with the fact that nobody’s heard of it. I only saw it while scrolling through Netflix one summer evening in search of something to watch. It sounded intriguing, and when I saw Paul Rudd was in it, I knew what I was doing with my night.

The Fundamentals of Caring follows Ben (Rudd), a retired writer and aspiring caregiver dealing with a past tragic event and doggedly trying to evade his estranged wife’s divorce lawyer. After completing his caregiving course, he is hired by an English woman to take care of her wheelchair-confined son Trevor (Craig Roberts), a sarcastic 18-year-old with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. Although Trevor is obsessed with American roadside attractions, he is too anxious and set in his routines to even consider leaving his house. However, Ben convinces both Trevor and his mother to allow him to take Trevor on a road trip to see the world’s deepest pit. Along the way, they encounter a young drifter (Gomez), reunite with Trevor’s father who abandoned the family when Trevor was diagnosed, and face all sorts of trials and tribulations.

 

Before diving in, I prayed to the Netflix gods that this wouldn’t be a Fault in Our Stars-esque doomed romance full of tired cliches. Thankfully, they listened and gave me a smart, independent comedy-drama with plenty of emotion yet zero sappiness. The real, heavy themes combine with frank honesty and no shortage of humor to create a film that isn’t easily forgotten. I really loved this movie and, if you’re tired of the overly teen-centric hits Netflix’s been putting out and looking for something fresh, I have a feeling that you will, too.

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