Winner of Cannes’s Directing Prize of Un Regard, Matt Ross’s “Captain Fantastic” makes you rethink parenting.[Spoilers Ahead]
Viggo Mortensen plays the lead role as an unorthodox father of six who lives in the wilderness.The film also stars George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwelll, Kathryn Hahn, Frank Langella. Along with daily combat training, hunting and occasional cliff climbing, Mortensen’s character Ben homeschools his children. Not only does his method of parenting include this strict regimen it also involves brutal honesty regarding all things from sex and death. The children and father practice variations of Daoism, Buddhism, Marxism, socialism etc. and even celebrate Noam Chomsky’s birth. The romanticism and idealism of Ben’s parenting come to a screeching holt in the film and yet somehow, the children never lose faith in their dad. This film portrays a disturbingly honest image of the effects of pop culture, censorship, and for lack of a better word “babying.” While Ben’s parenting is not without fault, his intentions are pure and eventually he does what any good father does and puts his children before himself.
The film opens with a haunting scene of the eldest child, Bodevan, played by George Mackay, killing a dear in the forest and thereafter consuming his heart signaling his entrance into adulthood, as indicated by his father. There are many off-putting moments such as these throughout the film that vividly depict the unusual upbringing the children have had. While no strangers to the digital world, the children still struggle to interact with peers they meet in towns and cities. The children never really get to be children and are forced to accept the realities of life from a young age, such as their mother committing suicide. While there might seem to be a unanimous and blind love for their father, Nicholas Hamilton’s character Rellian is often caught butting heads with Ben and yearns for a “normal” childhood with junk food, video games and empathy. The film challenges society’s norms while “sticking it to man.”
The film is now playing.