Captain Fantastic (2016)
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler
Director: Matt Ross
Rating: R for language and nudity
A devoted father is raising his six children in a cabin in the mountain forests of Pacific Northwest. The parents have cut off their children from the Western Society whom they consider to be fascist. The kids are home schooled everyday with rigorous physical and intellectual education. The father wants his children to be critical thinkers within the context of his socialist ideals. However, circumstances force the family to move out of their created paradise and enter the real world. As the kids are exposed to the good and bad of commercial America, long standing issues will come out in the forefront, challenging the father’s ideology and what is considered best for the future of the children.
I knew very little about Captain Fantastic before I decided to watch the movie. It totally caught me by surprise. This movie will make you think about the way you are really educating your children. It conveys to us that our kids are being dictated by the norms and clichés of society rules passed on by older generations and that there is nothing more valuable than freedom.
Captain Fantastic gives us a perspective of an of an outsider’s struggle against modern day consumerism and acceptance by society. Viggo Mortensen plays the role of Ben a father to six children living in a wilderness cut off from society and rest of the world. He is raising his family in a clearly anti-capitalistic setting with little to no interaction with the “real” world. What will happen if these children are forced to confront the “real” world? That’s the idea this movie examines quite nicely.
While the children may have all the survival techniques and superior intellect, they struggle when it comes to interacting with modern society. As the movie unfolds, Ben is forced to rethink what it means to be a parent. He starts questioning his own beliefs on societal viewpoints and education.
The movie is wonderfully thought provoking. You start wondering whether Ben’s ideology is truly regressive or forward thinking. Watching these kids survive the woods and then watching them adapt to society is an eye opener.
Mortensen really gets into the skin of the character that is too clouded by his beliefs of doing the right thing by his family. He really outdid himself in the acting department. However, truth be told, the six children are quite outstanding as well. My two thumbs up to Director Matt Ross. He weaves a story which is completely off the grid and a social experiment at that.
In summation, this movie is a rare case study where the dynamics of a family along with their controversies and dilemmas allow the audiences to explore the idea on what it means to raise a child. My verdict on the movie is 8/10.
You can also check out my reviews and recommendations of other films in the Movies page.