Captain Fantastic



Matt Ross’s Captain Fantastic is a thoughtful film about how the best intentions of loving people can have devastating consequences. Viggo Mortensen is the shamanistic father of six living off the grid in the Pacific Northwest. His wife and the children’s mother has been hospitalized for what is later revealed as manic depression and suicidal tendencies. Mortensen’s Ben has rejected societal conventions and is raising his children – ranging in age from 18 to 6 – as primitives and philosophers who kill and cook their meals, scale the side of cliffs, read Nabokov and celebrate Noam Chomsky’s birthday. Yes, the premise is fantastic but the sentiments feel genuine, and when the family receives tragic news about their mother, their sadness and distress and then resolve to fulfill her wish for a Buddhist departure feels pure and real – which in these times of mountainous cynicism is reason enough to see this gentle and affirming film. The children’s performance of Sweet Child O’ Mine is guaranteed to bring on the waterworks.

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