Director: Matt Ross
The biggest praise I can give this film is that you’ll probably leave the cinema wishing, just a little bit, that Ben (Viggo Mortensen) was your father.
In a nuanced and unabashedly glorious turn, Mr Mortensen brings us Ben, aka Captain Fantastic, a father who has taken to raising his six children in the middle of the wilderness and has to bring them out to the society in the wake of a personal tragedy. Suddenly the six incredibly fit, healthy, and intelligent children are shown the world of Xbox’s, Coca Cola, and pre-cooked chickens. It is the interwoven commentary of the children and their fathers journey that is so beautiful in this film, as well as the general concerns it raises for western society as a whole.
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If you haven’t already picked up, I’m a huge Mortensen fan and his performance as a man trying to both protect and help his children is moving at the best of times, but also hilarious. The plot does admittedly spin its wheels for some extended periods, and the finale does feel like a long time coming, but the interplay between the incredibly believable family is enough to tide you over until the story kicks in again. In short, this feels like another indie triumph with a dash of Little Miss Sunshine, and a dash of Wes Anderson, but mostly something all of its own. If you’re despairing for the earth or (like me) craving some Mortensen, go check this one out.