Starring: Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez
Director: Rob Burnett
Running Time: 97 mins
The Fundamentals Of Caring is an American film about a newly-qualified caregiver who takes up a job looking after a disabled teenager, during which time he begins to reflect on a previous tragedy that has turned his life completely upside down.
I’ve got to say that I was really surprised by this movie. Going far above my expectations in both comedic and dramatic delivery, The Fundamentals Of Caring is a simply brilliant film, with fantastic performances across the board, expert directing, as well as a touching and sometimes emotionally gruelling story.
One of the great things about this movie is that it pulls you in very quickly. A short and effective montage early on gives us a useful insight into Paul Rudd’s character, but not so much that we’re not wanting to find out more. Thanks to Rob Burnett’s brilliant directing, this film firmly establishes itself foremost as a drama, making the gradual development of more emotional subplots over the long term all the more effective.
I say that because the first act of this movie isn’t hugely dramatic. Whilst the odd insight into both Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts’ characters’ lives provides an emotional background to the overall story, the opening act is far more light-hearted, focusing on the quirks of the beginning of the duo’s relationship, a period in which both of the lead actors come into their own.
We all know how funny Paul Rudd can be, and whilst he does a great job, it’s actually Craig Roberts that really impresses in the opening stages. With fantastic deadpan delivery, his stubborn and difficult character is immediately clear, but also very funny on numerous occasions. Whether he’s pranking Rudd or being his annoying self, Roberts is fantastic to watch right from the beginning.
The opening act is absolutely great, but in comparison to the second and third acts, it’s not quite as memorable. Sure, the awkward beginning of Rudd and Roberts’ relationship is entertaining, but the remainder of the film takes a starkly different direction, delving far deeper into the characters’ own emotions and problems as they venture beyond the confines of one house.
However, what’s even better is that there isn’t an abrupt and immediate transition from comedy to pure drama, and we retain the leading duo’s banter for a good while, even as we start to learn more about far more serious matters.
Selena Gomez joins in along the way, and although her character doesn’t provide huge intrigue, she’s both an entertaining and lively presence as well as an effective plot device for a big shift in one of the leading male characters.
From then on, revelations begin to seep out up to the end of the film. Ingeniously, we never get the full information on a certain person’s background up until the moment that they become a major player in the film, which is notable at two emotionally devastating moments.
I won’t spoil either of them, but as we move into the final act, and tensions and complications begin to appear all around, those two moments represent incredibly powerful emotion that both bring you ever closer to the main characters, as well as becoming ever more invested in how they’re going to react from there on out, creating a consistent cycle of emotional connection and intrigue right up until the last scene.
It’s an enthralling watch, and Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts are fantastic at every moment. Roberts shines early on, but continues to impress as the film reaches more dramatic heights, whilst Paul Rudd puts in a stunning performance, far away from his normal comedic roles, providing a huge amount of intrigue and emotion throughout.
Overall, I was really impressed by this movie. It’s a fascinating watch from start to finish that handles a stark development of characters, relationships and atmosphere brilliantly. With excellent performances across the board, fantastic directing and an enthralling and often powerful story, The Fundamentals Of Caring really is a memorable watch, and that’s why it gets an 8.1 from me.