(Credit: Netflix)

Film Flashback

What 'Fundamentals of Caring' teaches us about life

The synopsis on the streamer says, “A writer-turned-caregiver and an ornery teen with muscular dystrophy bond after they set off on a road trip in search of offbeat landmarks and adventure.” Pretty much sums up the whole movie. But it is much more than just that. The film, Fundamentals of Caring released in the year 2016, is an experience.

Not only does it highlight how the idea of a daily routine is different for all individuals, but it also teaches you to hope. Or rather the will to find hope. As we get on with the film, we are unravelling Paul Rudd’s character, Ben.

The movie keeps transitioning from a brighter palette and super close-ups to a more dull reality where Ben is stuck. With the help of the Kuleshov effect, we can assume the kid who keeps flashing on screen was someone important to Ben. Let’s find out why this film will never age and continue to be one of the most celebrated films of our day and age for its sheer simplicity over a layer of complexities. 

Kuleshov effect is the effect caused by adding juxtaposing images next to each other. The cognitive perception attempts to make meaning out of it. The director, Rob Burnett, knew house to use it for his benefit. Not only does the film highlight the struggles of Craig Roberts, playing Trevor with his rare condition, but it slowly peels through Ben’s personal tragedies.

Why did he decide to drop his career and suddenly become a caregiver? Why now? Why does he not react a lot? As the plot transpires, we get to know he lost his son in a car accident which he blames himself for. Therefore, he can never be too careful with Trevor, he wants to help the kid, but he also finds a connection with him unlike ever before. 

The film stresses ‘ALOHA’ as the fundamentals of caregiving. Ask, listen, observe, help, and ask again. Is that all that someone who is in need of care looking for from their caregiver? Trevor’s dry humour negates it. He needed someone to understand him and his needs. As Ben and Trevor’s bond grows, they embark on an impromptu journey across the country. The aim? To cover the most bizarre places that Trevor had always wanted to visit. They build on mutual trust, have highs and lows, and find hope and friendship in one another. 

The film covers various adventures set along this journey, including Trevor trying to mend his relationship with his dad. Safe to say, caregiving or even caring is not his dad’s strongest suit. Trevor realised it was better not to have him in his life while growing up. We fall in love with Ben and his friend. And along came other travellers, including Selena Gomez (Dot), and Trevor gets to go on his first date.

Everything Trevor never imagined would never be a reality had Ben not forced him to change his ways and cherish the time he had left. The beautiful and gentle story reminds us of the true gifts of life: living, being able to have experiences, hope, and friendship. Everything dies but hope doesn’t. The Sandman has backed us on that. 

Find out more about this film by giving this must-watch a shot. Often the best stories are left behind as debris in the massive pool of chaotic and flashy ships. A breath of fresh air amidst the chaos of contemporary films. Cherish the gorgeous, witty, fulfilling story and direction by adding The Fundamentals of Caring to your weekend watchlist. You will not regret it. Start with the trailer here! 

The Fundamentals of Caring now streaming on Netflix!