As a Netflix original movie with Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez, I had to watch “The Fundamentals of Caring.” While the basic movie idea is one that has been done many times before — a person begins as a caregiver for someone disabled and they end up developing an extraordinarily deep relationship — this was the first time I have seen this type of movie done in a way that lines up with pop culture. By that, I mean they used prominent actors and actresses and the concepts and humor can be appreciated by all generations.
That being said, the movie wasn’t the most appropriate for children, but my point is that it was not too deep for any one age group to understand. That made it interesting as far as caregiver movies seem to go.
In many movies focused on caregiving, the one disabled is often older and provides wisdom to the younger or similar-aged caregiver or family member. This movie flipped those roles entirely. By the end, it is very clear the two characters have gained something from each other.
In fact, I would say the movie’s ideas in general were different modifications of a stereotype. Spoiler: For example, it was not just a road trip that the two decided to go on, it was one to see all of the side road trip stops that are generally, as stated, a side stop, but became a destination.
Also, it was distinctive that they decided to pick up hitchhikers along the way; in fact, it added several possibilities to the plot, making it less and less predictable.
The movie promoted a sense of motivation and provided a very current attitude that those who are disabled can do anything that anyone else can do. The ironic part of this movie was that it was the boy who was disabled who was so hesitant to do anything differently, rather than being held back by another character.
Despite that, this “can do” attitude emerges and promotes an incredible positivity that helps to balance out the other darker issues touched on within the plot. It is particularly relevant when Rudd’s character threatens to call a local news source when a particular location has no handicapped access to an exhibit. This could easily be a real scenario in today’s society.
Overall, the movie spun caregiving plots on their heads. While it seemed to hold a very indie movie quality, it reached far beyond just an audience that can appreciate independent films. It was in touch with society, flowed well with pop culture and was overall a very lighthearted and humorous movie that managed to tastefully capture both the simplicity and oddities of life.