Captain Fantastic (2016) Movie Review
Being a single parent is tough. You must raise and protect your children from influences that might ruin their childhood. You want them to grow up while experiencing the best things.
2016's Captain Fantastic may sound like a superhero movie from Marvel or DC, but it's not even close. There are so many things that this film presents us about parenting and the fears of exposing your children to forces that are beyond your control.
Captain Fantastic follows the story of Ben Cash, a single parent with six children isolated from society in the mountainous regions of Washington. His wife joins them but suffers from bipolar disorder and is hospitalized in New Mexico. They are left-wing anarchists who have grown tired of capitalism in America. They lived isolated so the children wouldn't be exposed to outside influences.
Ben teaches his children survival skills and educates them to think critically. He also provides books for them to read that give them knowledge beyond their years. He also teaches them not to rely on modern technology and to be one with nature. Some days, they celebrate Noam Chomsky's birthday instead of Christmas. Because of this, the children became socially awkward due to a lack of exposure to the outside world.
One day, Ben learns that his wife committed suicide while undergoing treatment. The family decides to attend their mother's funeral. Her wife's father, Jack, plans to hold a Christian burial ceremony despite her wife being a Buddhist follower. Ben tries to convince him to cremate her wife, but he threatens to arrest him if he attends the funeral.
As they continue their road trip, the children doubt their father because of their experiences from the outside world. They accuse him of failing to treat their mother's mental health. The eldest son, Bodevan, iterates that he did not prepare them for the outside world. He showed him letters from different state colleges that his mother helped him apply. As the family approaches the funeral, tensions between Ben and Leslie's family begin to rise. He must soon decide whether to continue living in isolation or let his children experience the real world.
Captain Fantastic brought in the talents of the legendary Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, George MacKay, and many more.
Aside from the astounding performance of Viggo Mortensen, who is like a hero and a villain in this movie. I have to credit George MacKay, whom I have not known since watching 1917. He portrays the eldest son, Bodevan.
Captain Fantastic is a hit-or-miss film, but it's a must-watch. It should be on your list if you want a drama centered across a family. It has a little road adventure but centers around their day-to-day struggles and changes as they experience more of the outside world.
We may have different opinions about this film and whether Ben is right not to expose his children to those who will influence them, but I think there should be a borderline. While I do appreciate his character's hands-on education of his children and teaching them survival skills, he failed as a parent in other aspects.
I truly love the movie, and the outdoor mountain shots are incredible. They use a lot of wide array angles to maximize the view and emotions.
A good 4 out of 5 stars.