The Fundamentals of Caring

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The Fundamentals of Caring
The Fundamentals of Caring poster.jpg
Official poster
Directed byRob Burnett
Produced by
  • Rob Burnett
  • Donna Gigliotti
  • James Spies
Written byRob Burnett
Based onThe Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
by Jonathan Evison
Music byRyan Miller
CinematographyGiles Nuttgens
Edited byChristopher Passig
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • January 29, 2016 (2016-01-29) (Sundance Film Festival)
  • June 24, 2016 (2016-06-24) (worldwide)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Fundamentals of Caring is a 2016 American road comedy-drama film written and directed by Rob Burnett, based on the 2012 novel The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison. Starring Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, and Selena Gomez, the film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 29, 2016, and was released on Netflix on June 24, 2016.[1][2]


Ben is an out-of-work writer in Seattle, avoiding his estranged wife’s attempts to serve him with divorce papers. He takes a six-week course to become a registered caregiver and is hired by Elsa, a bank office manager from England, to care for her 18-year-old son Trevor, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Ben adjusts to Trevor’s routine and bonds with the sardonic, sexually frustrated teenager. Trevor reveals that his father left when he was diagnosed at age 3, and sends Trevor letters which he ignores. Elsa tells Ben that she and Trevor know he is coping with the death of his young son, and warns him not to become too close to Trevor, fearing he will be hurt when Ben inevitably moves on.

Trevor is fascinated with American roadside attractions, and Ben convinces Elsa to let them take a road trip. He and Trevor embark on a journey to see the world's deepest pit, but Trevor asks to also visit his father, who owns a car dealership in Salt Lake City. At a gas station, Trevor develops a crush on a hitchhiker his age named Dot. When he and Ben see her again outside a diner, Ben invites her to join them on the road. Dot explains that she is heading to Denver to restart her life. Stopping at a motel, Ben suspects they are being followed by someone sent by his wife.

Further down the highway, they find a pregnant woman named Peaches whose car has broken down and offer her a ride. When they stop for the night, Trevor asks Dot on a date to the diner across the street, and she accepts. The next day, the four confront Trevor's father at his dealership. He admits that although Elsa asked him to write to Trevor, he never did; she wrote all the letters herself. Uninterested in connecting with his son, Trevor’s father tries to offer him money, but Trevor and the others leave. Lashing out at each other, Trevor and Ben prepare to drive home, but Dot insists they complete their journey.

Arriving at the world’s deepest pit, Trevor, Dot, and Peaches head to the bottom, while Ben waits at the top, saying he forgot his mobile. He confronts the driver who has been following them and discovers it is Dot's father, who wants to make sure she safely reaches Denver. Suddenly, Ben receives a frantic call from Dot, and races to the bottom of the pit, fearing something has happened to Trevor, to discover that Peaches has gone into labor. He helps deliver the baby, overcoming his guilt over the death of his son; it is revealed that he was accidentally run over by Ben’s car while they were unloading groceries.

Peaches and her newborn son are taken to the hospital. Dot reconciles with her father, who agrees to take her the rest of the way to Denver. She kisses Trevor before she leaves, promising to keep in touch. With a borrowed spinal board, Ben helps Trevor fulfill his wish of urinating standing up, over the rail, into the pit. Ben and Trevor return home, and Ben finalizes his divorce. He begins writing his next novel about Trevor, indicating that he has remained close friends with him.



On October 11, 2012, Worldwide Pants' Rob Burnett and Jon Beckerman acquired the film rights to Jonathan Evison's novel The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving.[3] Burnett adapted and directed the film,[3] and Donna Gigliotti and James Spies produced. On January 7, 2015, Paul Rudd was cast to play the male lead,[4] and on January 13, Selena Gomez also joined the film.[5]

On December 7, it was announced that the original title, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, had been changed to The Fundamentals of Caring.[6] It was later revealed Bobby Cannavale and Frederick Weller had been cast in the film as well, with Craig Roberts also added to star opposite Rudd.[7][8]


Principal photography began on January 22, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia.[9][10] In early February filming took place in Cartersville, Georgia.[11] The shoot concluded on February 26, 2015, after 26 days of filming.


The film had its world premiere on January 29 at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival as the Closing Night Film.[12] In January 2016, prior to its festival premiere, Netflix acquired the film's global distribution rights,[13] and began streaming it on June 24, 2016.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 77%, based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10.[15] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 55 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[16]


  1. ^ Robinson, Will (April 1, 2016). "Netflix sets June premiere date for The Fundamentals of Caring". Entertainment Weekly.
  2. ^ Osterndorf, Chris (June 24, 2016). "Review: Netflix's 'The Fundamentals of Caring' runs on Rudd". Retrieved July 18, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Siegel, Tatiana (October 11, 2012). "Worldwide Pants Nabs Big-Screen Rights to Jonathan Evison's Novel 'The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving'". Retrieved February 14, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Sneider, Jeff (January 7, 2015). "Paul Rudd to Star in Inspirational Indie Movie 'The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving'". Retrieved February 14, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Yamato, Jen (January 13, 2015). "Selena Gomez Joins Paul Rudd In 'The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 14, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "First Look at Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts & Selena Gomez in The Fundamentals of Caring". Final Reel. December 7, 2015. Retrieved December 7, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Berkshire, Geoff (January 23, 2016). "Sundance Film Review: 'The Fundamentals of Caring'". Variety. Retrieved May 30, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (May 30, 2016). "'The Fundamentals Of Caring' Trailer: Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts & Selena Gomez Hit The Road". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 30, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Selena Gomez arrives in Atlanta to begin filming 'The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving'". January 19, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "On the Set for 1/26/15: Michael Fassbender Begins Steve Jobs Biopic, Ryan Coogler Starts Rocky Spinoff & More". January 26, 2015. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Selena Gomez & Paul Rudd continue filming 'The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving' in Cartersville, Georgia". February 2, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "SUNDANCE INSTITUTE COMPLETES FEATURE FILM LINEUP FOR 2016 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL". Sundance. December 7, 2015. Retrieved December 7, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Sharf, Zack (January 15, 2016). "Netflix Continues to Conquer Pre-Sundance With 'Fundamentals of Caring' Deal". Retrieved January 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "EW".
  15. ^ "The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 7, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "The Fundamentals of Caring Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 25, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]