User Reviews (403)

Add a Review

  • Aesthetically on high-level, questioning the most important points of human life and importance of verbal, mental, physical, social, emotional development and the inability of developing them all on the same level. There are so many factors that influence one's development. And there is space for many mistakes.

    High quality acting. Viggo Mortensen gives one of his best performances, a devoted father that wants only the best for his kids, an authority, a leader, a teacher, loving, loyal husband, a grieving human with tough, determined, honest attitude he transmits to his children. Kids, from the youngest to the oldest, act with such naturalness that you simply dive in this masterfully-made journey.

    Film doesn't show how one should live and not live because both sides are flawed. Internal and external conflicts make you question the reality of the present, giving you space to find your own balance of how one should live.

    I personally started thinking of how there is a massive space for improvement in every field of our lives. An example is school. And how devastating it is that one could neglect the knowledge at that extant. Kids need to be inspired and motivated to learn. And more important is that they have to build inner-motivation that will make them interested and ambitious as they improve the world around them. And of course kids can't be accused for not wanting to learn if the teachers don't show them how and why to love their subject. And of course parents to support them.

    This (above) is just one point of where this movie has taken my entranced mind.

    This is a movie for every generation. It needs to be noticed, it deserves to be talked about, and discussed. Because that is the point of Captain Fantastic.
  • ... that also entertains.

    In a sea of sequels, prequels, universes and JJ Abrams remakes Hollywood indeed comes up with something that makes you think, laugh and cry. I enjoyed it and feel that there is some creativity left out there.

    Good directing, good acting and really enjoyed the food for thought.
  • Set against the beautiful Pacific Northwest backdrop, Captain Fantastic is easily one of the most nuanced films to come to mainstream cinema in the last few years. It's main plot addresses the struggle when everyone has the best intentions but not the same values. Additionally, the film makes honest and straightforward comments on controversial issues in today's society that are often taboo in the media such as mental illness, the hypocrisy of children's exposure to violence and sex, religion, and the flaws in the American education system. This sounds heavy and uncomfortable but these issues are paralleled in such a way that parts of the film had us in tears; from laughing so hard. Director Matt Ross says the project started as an exaggerated exploration of the difficult choices that must be made in regards to raising children in today's society. I think the film goes a step further and awakens an internal dialogue in each of it's viewers about the way that we live our own lives based on societal influences. Furthermore, the performances given by the perfectly arranged cast enhance your investment in the story in a way that will cause you to question what right and wrong really are when you're only trying to do your best and do what you think is best for those that you love.
  • Is it worth the price of a movie ticket? Yes!

    I felt that this film was captivating in all aspects of story-telling. Especially in it's acting where all characters in the film did a superb job with special mention to Viggo Mortensen (Ben - Father) and George Mackay (Bo - Eldest Son). This film depicts the difficulty of parenting at the highest level as Ben has to raise his 6 children in the wilderness alone in the way he thinks will be best for them. Bo shows the rational side of this story as he accepts who he is, how he was raised, and who he wants to become in the future. We clearly see the struggle of a young man who will take care of his siblings yet long for a life he has never known. This was my first time seeing George MacKay on the big screen with a big part and he certainly did not disappoint. His performance along with Viggo Mortensen was the perfect balance for the film.

    The realness and rawness of this film aligns perfectly with Ben's choice in parenting and survival instincts in the wilderness. We are easily immersed into the idea that civilization and it's systems of government are toxic and that we as a people who take part in it are living the wrong life. A film that can manipulate at such a high degree is a great example of a film with a genius plot.

    The cinematography was beautiful as to be expected. Our setting for most of the film is in the Pacific Northwest and it was a pleasure to see that they didn't saturate the screen with wide aerial shots of the forest and mountains throughout the film. Instead they focused more on the home within the mountains. Details highlighting living spaces indoors and outdoors was a beautiful contrast to the another setting later in the film. Kielyr "This house is a vulgar display of wealth" Vespy "and an unethical use of space!". I believe the cinematographer & director chose not to concentrate on details of the luxurious house as they did with the home in the forest. Mostly shot on wides to display its enormity and that was all that was needed.

    The soundtrack I felt fit perfectly with the film. Times of quiet were also used very well here. The editing was seamless and kept the story moving perfectly.

    I take my hat off to Matt Ross for a genius script that focuses on ideas of socialism, the complexities of human relationships, and coming of age story. With his role as director, he was able to execute the overall emotional effect of the viewer with the film's well balanced blend of comedy and pathos.
  • Greetings again from the darkness. There seems to be no end to the theories on how to be an effective parent and raise kids who are productive, well-adjusted and successful. Writer/director Matt Ross offers up a creative, entertaining and thought-provoking story of one family's unconventional approach in a world that seems to expect and accept only the conventional.

    We are first introduced to Ben (Viggo Mortensen) and his six kids as they are stalking a deer while deep in the Pacific Northwest forest … only this isn't your buddy's weekend deer hunting trip. Each family member is covered head-to-toe in mud and other means of camouflage, and the oldest son Bodevan (George MacKay) takes the lead with his knife in what is presented as a rite of passage into manhood.

    The family carries out a daily ritual that includes extreme physical conditioning, lessons on survival and living off the land, and advanced education that includes reading such diverse material as Dostoevsky and Lolita. Each evening is capped off with an impromptu musical jam. It's evident that self-sufficiency, intelligence and family loyalty are crucial to Ben's approach … an approach that is challenged when circumstances require the family board their Partridge Family bus (named Steve) and take a cross-country road trip into a civilization that doesn't know what to make of them (and vice-versa).

    The film is jam-packed with social commentary on education, parenting, societal norms, societal influences, and even grief. Who gets to decide what is best for a family or what's the best method for education? Sometimes the dysfunctional family isn't so easy to identify. Director Ross proves this in a gem of a dinner table scene as Ben and the kids visit Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn and their two sons in suburbia.

    In addition to the terrific performance by up-and-comer George MacKay, the other actors playing the kids are all very strong and believable: Samantha Isler as Kieyler, Annalise Basso as Vespyr, Nicholas Hamilton as Rellian, Shree Crooks as Zaja, and Charlie Shotwell as Nai. Screen vets Frank Langella and Ann Dowd bring presence to the role of their grandparents and provide the greatest contrast to the off-the-grid existence of the kids.

    Viggo Mortensen truly shines here and gives a performance full of grace and depth as he displays many emotions (some of which aren't so pleasant). He even goes full-Viggo for one of the film's many humorous moments … though the comedy is balanced by plenty of full scale drama. His best work comes in the scenes when he begins to question that there may be some flaws in his plan … the moments of self-realization are stunning.

    Many will note some similarities between this film and Little Miss Sunshine (2006), though this one carries quite a bit more heft. It's beautifully photographed by cinematographer Stephane Fontaine (A Prophet, Rust and Bone) and captures the danger and solitude of the forest, while also capturing the more personal family dynamics. It's a film that should generate plenty of discussion, and one of the questions is … will Noam Chomsky Day ever match Festivus in popularity?
  • "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." Henry David Thoreau

    I just happen to be reading Henry David Thoreau's book Walden for a philosophy club. When I saw this trailer I told myself I had to see this before it left my city. The similarity between the book Walden and this film are pretty high. With similar topics of arguments against commercialism and full industrialism. Then throw on top a yearning for spiritual truth and self-reliance. Still, this isn't just a stick your middle finger at the system film. It's way more than that.

    Matt Ross has an interesting meditation on what it means to live outside society in America. He shows a couple reasons why someone would do this and show the pros and cons in a very interesting way. The views evolve as the story moves on. Such is life eh?

    Viggo Mortensen acting is amazing in this role. With that said, don't overlook Jack (Frank Langella) acting in the film. For a good portion of the film, we only see the point of view from the family and mostly Ben (Viggo Mortensen) at that. But later in the film, you see Jack's motives too. I can see why he acted the way he did and I may have done this same if I was in his spot too.

    Bo (George MacKay) gets a couple good scenes too. It's great to see him fumble through interactions throughout the film and to discover what he wants out of adult life. This may or may not conflict with what his dad wants.

    I highly recommend this film and can't wait to see what Matt Ross does in the future. If this film comes to your town do yourself a favour and see it. Clever films are rare and need to be supported.
  • Captain Fantastic is the real superhero story. This superhero changes things in real life, has lessons to teach, deeds to perform and help this world change for the better by practicing what he preaches. I assume many people did not watch this film in the cinema. I know I didn't. I hope they find it now. Entertaining and different.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this in Sundance earlier in the year, and was captivated by the storytelling, acting and cinematography.

    The story follows Ben (Viggo Mortensen), a father of six, living deep in the forests of the pacific northwest, far from modern life. All six children, from seventeen year old Bodevan to seven year old Nai are fluent in philosophy, history and quantum theory (!), and can hunt and fend for themselves in the wilderness. At least that is until the suicide of their mother forces the family to clash with modern society, and then Ben realizes that he has in fact not prepared his children at all for what lies outside their forest. Bodevan, for example, accepted in a swarm of the top colleges and adept enough to kill a deer single-handedly, cannot bring himself to talk to a girl without immediately proposing to her.

    The family's ideals further come under stress when his late wife's father (Frank Langella) who hates the life Ben has created for his family comes into the picture, and forbids Ben from attending his wife's funeral, threatening him with arrest. In what could have easily turned into a one-dimensional harsh/rich character, Frank Langella also projects empathy and deep grief over his daughter's death. When Ben and his children visit his sister's much more conventional family, and her smart phone-obsessed children, Ben criticizes their upbringing, only to have his sister bring his own parenting skills into question. Director Matt Ross skillfully presents both sides here without picking favorites.

    Acting-wise the film is captivating, with Mortensen fitting the renaissance profile of Ben like a glove. He projects all the arrogance and hardheadedness of Ben together with his warmth, adoration for his children, and respect for his wife's wishes with grace and subtlety in one of the most seemingly effortless performances I have seen. He is also surrounded by an excellent supporting cast, from the children to his in-laws and sister.

    In summary, Captain Fantastic is a rare case where family dynamics, with their controversies and dilemmas are not oversimplified to a preaching doctrine in the finale; the film allows the viewer the space to find their own balance on what it means to raise a child.
  • "Captain Fantastic" (2016 release; 119 min.) brings the story of Ben and his 6 kids. As the movie opens, we are looking onto the breath-taking landscapes of western Washington. The camera then zooms in on a deer, and before we know it, the deer is killed by a brutal knifing (with audible gasps in the theater audience). It turns out to be Ben's oldest son. Ben exclaims proudly "today a boy is dead, in his place is a man!". We get to know Ben and the 6 kids, ranging from 17 to about 7 or 8 in age, as they live completely off the grid. As we wonder "where is Ben's wife/the mom?", we learn that Leslie is in the hospital due to bipolar disorder. One day Ben drives into town to call the hospital to see how Leslie is doing... At this point we're not event 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

    Couple of comments: this is the second feature length from actor/writer/director Matt Ross, who previously directed the under the radar "28 Hotel Rooms". Here he brings something completely different, and a social experiment at that: what if you raise a family completely off the grid, in a utopian but clear anti-capitalistic setting, without any interaction with the "real" world, and what would happen if at one point those children are forced to confront the "real" world. Fascinating idea, and one that Ross examines quite nicely. The movie excels even more due to the performance of Viggo Mortensen, which is out of this world, but truth be told: the six kids are quite outstanding as well. The movie is pretty much perfect for the first 90 min., but then struggles to come to a reasonable conclusion, regretfully. There is also an outstanding score for this movie, courtesy of Alex Somers and performed by Somers and Jonsi (of Sigur Ros). Apart from the score, there are a number of other good song placements throughout the movie (but not Elton John's "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy", if you were wondering). Can't wait to check out the soundtrack.

    "Captain Fantastic" won Matt Ross the best director award in the "Un Certain Regard" showing at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The movie finally opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati and I couldn't wait to see it. The Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended very nicely, I am happy to say. It seems that, other than the gasps in the opening scene of the movie, the audience really enjoyed the movie. I know I did. If you are interested in a very solid family drama with a unique social experiment, you cannot go wrong with this, be it in the theater, on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. "Captain Fantastic" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
  • palavitsinis24 October 2016
    This movie challenges lots of things that we wrongfully take for granted in today's society. Mortensen is brilliant for yet another time and all the cast is simply breathtaking.

    The concept of the movie and the backstory were brilliant. A touching movie, heartwarming and brilliant all along. A father that although strict and sometimes military like, who's also artistic and deeply sentimental. An amazing depiction from Vigo Mortensen. Amazing.

    A movie that in a simple but yet elegant way depicts all the things that have altered our society and brings forth lots of the things that really matter. It makes us think about the ways we were raised and rethink the ways in which we want our children to be raised.

    This is a movie well worth your time. One of the best movies I have watched in 2016, by far!
  • Mortensen plays Ben, A father of six children, whose wife suffers from mental illness and Ben thought it would be good for her and the kids to live out in the wild, living off the land and tossing the rules of our society out the window. However, Ben's wife did not get better. Captain Fantastic mostly focuses on the children. On a road trip towards their mother's funeral, they get a culture clash with the rest of the world. It lays out all the info for the question of weather these kids were raised right or raise wrong. Captain Fantastic starts off showing you the children's lifestyle, were organic met growing and hunting your own food and made their own clothes and were home schooled. Then they come into society where everyone looks at them as if they are freaks, but why is it weird that these kids don't know the name brand of sneakers? The look on their faces when they experienced Street Fighter for the first time makes sense when your not use to such things. Besides, it's a shame on our Society that an 8 year old can comprehend the Bill of Rights better than those older than her. Watching these kids tackle the woods than watching them adapt to society was a bit of an eye opener. Some times the movie punches you in the gut, like when the talk about religious "organizations" and how Fat everyone in the city seems to be, but the blow is softer cause it's coming from children. But Captain Fantastic is not all one sided, detailing some down qualities of living in the wild , like the eldest son's overzealous first encounter with the opposite sex or the fact that It was the parents choice to live out in the woods, not the child's. Mortensen played the part well of a man who sometimes got too clouded by his beliefs of doing the right thing by his family and who sometimes went to far to prove a point. Also like Frank Langella's character, the father who just lost his daughter and blames his son-in-law. It's was good cause you really know people like the character he plays. Steve Zahn and Kathryn Hahn were also terrific in the movie playing yin to Ben's yang, as parents who don't fully see eye to eye with what he's doing. Overall, everyone has a upbringing different from everyone else and Captain Fantastic takes that statement to a different level, but at it's core, he's just a parent who loves his children and is trying to do the best he can in a difficult time. This theme radiates from Mortensen and the rest of the cast, which is what makes it so Fantastic.
  • Ata-221 July 2016
    This is simply the best movie I have seen since Shawshank Redemption. It tells the story of a family living in the wilderness who are forced to face modern society. Its funny, with a pinch of sad, and a huge dollop of thought-provoking.

    Matt Ross is a genius who has found his voice and style in this film. The direction is just incredible. The script has all the fluff stripped out so it moves along at a great pace. It is edited to perfection so every scene draws you further in. It feels like "Into The Wild" as directed by Clint Eastwood. I have been going around telling random people about how great this movie is and how it will clean up at the Oscars.

    I don't see it appealing to everyone however. That is what makes it such a great film because no one left the screening ambivalent. The open-minded Austin, Texas audience was vastly in the Fantastic camp, but I can see this film is not going to go down well everywhere with everyone. If it did, it would be some fluff piece and not the classic it is destined to be.
  • This movie had wonderful child actors and a great family story. Yes it is a unusual family but that is why I liked it. The story is believable. You will laugh and cry. A great story of a family that you will grow to love. You will like the scenery. It is thought provoking and shows all different aspects of family life. There is a small short scene of male frontal nudity but other then that it is fine. You will enjoy the full two hours of the movie. I think the child actors should be nominated for Oscars. They were very believable. It makes you think about the different ways we raise our kids. The dad may seem strange in his beliefs but that is why I liked the movie We are all different.
  • But it is a really really smart film that manages to entertain and also show itself as an informative and poignant piece of art. Diversion from the norm and anti-conformism is not fashionable these with everyone watching sequel number 8 of the last piece of shlock but that such a film is out there shows that there is still hope for cinema. DVD has a lack of extras and the discussions I was hoping for, but with Captain Fantastic slated to become a popular classic there may be future editions. My fave part? The part about fantasy elves or whatever they said about religion. Happy Noam Chomsky Day!
  • Good movie

    Very interesting movie. Watch, listen and learn about independent thinking in the world and America.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I enjoyed the movie mainly thanks to Viggo's interpretation of the father, his sense of dignity is very present, and his relationship to his older son is a pleasure to watch. The only big thing that I could not get to like about Captain Fantastic is how much ideological denial there is. Let me explain: This family is really remarkable, just in their actions and their daily life there is enough for the viewer to deeply understand many things about their thoughts, but the film (or the script) has them ranting all the time about the rest of the world and about how other people's lives are so wrongly lived... Even the father is constantly mocking the mundane life of the common American. I thought these characters would be much more likable if they just lived the virtue without pointing out so much how virtuous they are in comparison to the rest of the world, and this is in my opinion the reason why this film will not be a milestone in history. So many minutes of film wasted in political and ideological comparisons that are well understood just by having the children move around their house or even talk to one another.

    Anyway, besides that, it is a great movie with a very good cast, wonderful locations. I wish I were one of those kids, or I wish I can some day be even a 20% of what that father is to them. The first scene with the masculine rite of passage has been overlooked and is indeed fantastic.
  • I'm a resident and lover of the Pacific Northwest and pretty far left on the political spectrum, so this should have been a film for me. The cinematography is gorgeous. It's well acted and nicely directed. But I had problems with its heavy handedness and Utopian pretentiousness.

    Perhaps if I were younger, with a more absolutist worldview, I'd have been able to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy this film without reservation. But it fell flat for me in a number of ways.

    First, there are too many things that don't add up, from having a magically fueled bus available at all times despite a lack of that terrible capitalist green stuff to a balanced and varied diet supportive of an extreme training regimen even though living as hunters and gatherers without taking the time or energy to cultivate crops. Everyone manages to stay clean and well dressed despite a lack of electricity or running water. The children are educated to be philosopher-scholars, musicians, theoretical physicists, linguists, endurance athletes and survivalists (all at the same time, as if any one of these challenges would not be a full time endeavor reserved for ones of special gifts and talents) while handling every aspect of their fully self-sufficient lives in their idyllic nature preserve. It's never explained how the family manages to purchase a huge tract of old growth forest or manages to squat without consequence on public land.

    Setting aside all of that, I found the political/philosophical point of view of the film heavy handed to say the least. The father inculcates the children with his westernized quasi-Buddhist spiritual philosophy and Marxist ideals; fine. But the film seems intent on antagonizing everyone who doesn't share such views -- though the themes are softened here and there, I guess in an effort to make it seem more open-minded and, thus, palatable to a broader audience.

    Personally, though not a Christian, I see no need to belittle and offend those who are. While projecting a supposedly tolerant and nuanced worldview, with some tips of the cap to broad-mindedness as the father realizes he's been perhaps a tad extreme, the film is actually quite intolerant and demeaning of conventional values. Why, for example, is it a good thing to educate the children on how to steal? I've no issue with a nudist lifestyle and have in fact spent time on nude beaches, so I have an understanding of the ways in which removing clothing can strip away pretensions and leave people open and vulnerable in good ways. At the same time, is inflicting one's nudist philosophy on others a good thing? It's also worth pointing out that among the most extreme of contemporary fundamentalists, Wahabi Muslims have this habit of bulldozing the shrines of Sufi Muslims and erecting public toilets in their place as a means to belittle and humiliate. This film, which tries to embody themes that are open and tolerant, in a very real way commits the same offense as the Muslim extremists of Saudi Arabia with a gratuitous scene set in a public toilet.

    At the end of the day, for all the messages the film seems to want to carry, it's really a rather thin and hypocritical gruel, blind to the irony of its own intolerance, offering little of lasting value (except a nicely nuanced nutshell review of the Nabikov novel "Lolita").

    I've still given the film six stars because it's well crafted and for its efforts to be thought provoking. Those are laudable goals even if the effort ultimately falls far short.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Captain Fantastic begins with the death of a boy and the birth of a man. What a gem of a film! We had to sit at the front row because of a full-house screening, but the punishing ordeal was but a breeze as 2 hours whizzed by.

    Viggo Mortensen plays a Renaissance man Ben who is out of this world, but never out of his depth. He is a father to six children and they live off the grid in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, eating off the land. Every day he home-schools his children in jungle survival skills, hand-to-hand combat, vertical rock-face climbing and pushes their fitness levels to way off the charts. The children, ranging from an 8-year-old to a 17-year-old, are fluent in philosophy, history, literature, foreign languages (including mandarin!), music and even quantum theory! Their mother's death forces the family of 7 to board the family bus named Steve for modern society. Ben and his posse of 6 aren't quite ready for the cruel world and the world aren't quite ready for Ben, Bolevan, Kielyr, Vespyr, Rellian, Zaja and Nai - all original names lovingly created by their parents because they feel their names should reflect the fact that each one of them is unique. OMG I want one too!

    The film is superbly written, acted, musically scored, shot and directed. It is suffused with social commentary on the education system, parenting techniques, societal norms and the handling of grief. Writer-director Matt Ross never pushes one agenda over another, allowing a scene to play out nicely. It takes a lot of restraint to present both sides of the argument without screaming in your face what you should do. In so doing I start to question the different ways of upbringing and which side of the fence I will sit on. Watch out for a pivotal scene at the dinner table where two families gather. You know a WWIII is about to happen as the youngest girl asks to taste wine and the man of the house is trying very hard to explain how did Aunt Harper, Ben's wife, die. The scene is hilarious and thought provoking as two schools of thought on parenting come into loggerheads with one another.

    There is another scene that rings emphatically true for me. Being an educator for the longest time, I have always felt teachers in classrooms predominantly emphasise the "how" and "what" in lessons. The "why" is usually treated as a cursory by-line because the "how-s" and the "what-s" will get a student through the huddles of exams and tests. Ben notices Vespyr is reading Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, a book way ahead of her Literature curve, and proceeds to ask her what she thinks of it. An ubiquitous "it is interesting" comment rings out and in Ben's family mantra "interesting" is a non-word. He coaxes out more depth and analysis from her and her reply will put pride in any parent or an educator.

    The film rests on Viggo Mortensen's shoulders and he is perfectly cast. He embodies all the attributes of a father - authoritarian, hardheadedness, arrogant, eccentric, kind, warm, understanding and respectful. All through it, his grace, love and adoration for his children shine out like a beacon in a dark place. This is flat-out effortlessly one of the best performances I have seen this year. The rest of the kids are also captivatingly natural and raw. I read in an interview that Ross would linger the camera on the kids to capture them in a natural state so as to bring out the best in them. If their antics and love for learning don't hit a raw nerve in you, it probably means you have already been molded and indoctrinated by the society.

    The last act feels a little too neat and tidy for my liking but it doesn't take away the fact that this is one of those rare movies that truly engages your intellectual mind, endeavours to question societal norms and dares to "stick it to the man". How it does all this without being high-handedly preachy is FANTASTIC! I particularly love the last sendoff scene. To me it means our lives don't have to be someone else's idea of what we should be. We can be what we choose. And if anyone is ever in a position to take our lives away from us? We should do something about that.
  • Captain Fantastic' is an emotionally charged family drama with excellent characters and performances that truly elevate the picture. The film feels very naturalistic, thanks to the handheld camera and realistic nature of the screenplay and acting. The film is heavily politically charged, however writer/director Matt Ross does a good job at allowing the audience to make up their own political viewpoints. While the film is told from the 'Cash' family's perspective, the character of 'Jack', who would traditionally be seen as the film's antagonist, isn't portrayed as evil but simply another man with different attitudes to life. This is where the film really excels. It opens a window to the lives of a wide variety of characters and never tells us how to feel, instead simply showing us what they think and feel and allowing us to decide how we react to that. At times, the film is genuinely funny too and that is another aspect of this film that I love. It has the perfect blend of drama and comedy and, as such, feels very much like a slice-of-life. It can be dead serious and genuinely emotionally affecting one minute, and then funny and feel-good the next. Viggo Mortensen delivers an outstanding performance as a father who just wants the best for his children, and this is another great aspect of the film. It is about the importance of family, and explores what 'family' means to different people and social groups. The contrasts between how different groups perceive Ben's parenthood sets the film apart and allows audiences to choose how they personally feel. In conclusion 'Captain Fantastic' is not only one of the most genuinely emotional and heartwarming films of recent years, but also one of the best. 9/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    So here we are. In 2016 a supposedly sympathetic character in a major motion picture proudly says 'I am a Maoist' without any trace of irony or doubt.

    I don't want to dwell on the acting, camera and other cinematic stuff. The cast are your usual fare of beautiful Hollywood people, camera and direction are not jarringly obvious, so they must be O.K. too. The only problem this movie has, is the atrocious script.

    The premise of the movie is a family living in a kind of Thoreau-esque paradise of unity of Man and Nature, hunting (and presumably gathering, we are not shown this explicitly) and not having to interact with the nasty, philistine and obese Christians inhabiting the rest of the country.

    The most jarring thing about the movie it its total lack of self-awareness. The protagonists ride through the whole thing on their high horses without a single character pointing out the obvious flaws in their reasoning:

    The basic tenor of the plot is the superiority of the enlightened individualism to the organized religion (Christianity specifically, the other monotheist religions are beyond pale, of course). However, the family unit that is the central protagonist of the movie resembles a sect tightly controlled by its charismatic leader more than any mainstream Christian church does.

    In the important scene in the movie, the Father of the family demonstrates the superiority of his education by having his small child giving a discourse on the Bill of Rights and Citizens United verdict. The 'normal' people are dutifully dumbfounded and ashamed of themselves. However, it's safe guess that the children in the family have no clue who's princess Lea, what's Facebook {or any computer technology for that matter), they also lack basic social skills. You can judge for yourself what kind of knowledge is useful IRL.

    The happy family celebrate a Noam Chomsky day after successful grocery store heist. You can think what you want about Mr. Chomsky's policies, but extreme individualism is hardly something that he would endorse.

    The proud Father snarkily comments that the 'Business of America is business' to demonstrate the soulless nature of capitalistic society. However, this is a quote from Calvin Coolidge, one of the presidents with actual survival skills.

    Extreme individualism and survival skills is something the proud Father boasts about to his weakling sister-in-law. However, hunting and gathering can support about 1 person per square mile. So if USA should revert to this way of living, about 98% of the population would have to be eliminated.

    And finally and most importantly, even their small family is totally dependent on the broader society. They don't have blast furnaces to produce steel to create their nice hunting knifes. Practical outdoor clothing they wear was probably manufactured in China, using technologies and materials that were not available not even fifty years ago. When one of the children is injured, they rush him to modern hospital to take advantage of the state-of-the-art medical facilities.

    So the movie's most pervasive feature is its monumental hypocrisy. Yeah, let the other people live their meaningless petty lives in the thrall of multinational corporations and subjugated by organized religion. We shall take the fruits of your labors, laugh at your travails and feel smugly superior about ourselves.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'CAPTAIN FANTASTIC': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five) Indie drama flick; about a family, that has lived in isolation in the Pacific Northwest forests (for a decade), that's forced to reenter society when tragedy strikes. It was written and directed by actor, turned filmmaker, Matt Ross. The film stars Viggo Mortensen; and it features small supporting turns from Frank Langella, Steve Zahn, Kathryn Hahn and Ann Dowd. It's been a small hit at the indie theaters, and it's also received mostly positive reviews from critics, and fans alike. I went into the movie knowing very little about it (having not seen a single trailer), and I really enjoyed it. Ben and Leslie Cash (Mortensen and Trin Miller) had been living 'off the grid', in the Washington state mountains with their six children, for close to ten years. They taught their kids very strict survival skills, as well as the benefits of a socialist society. When Leslie suffers from severe bipolar disorder, and kills herself because of it, Ben decides to take his family to her funeral, in New Mexico, despite Leslie's father (Langella) strongly discouraging him against it. The family's new experiences, in the conventional world, challenges all of their staunch views on life (especially Ben's). The movie is a great examination of extremism verses conformity; it does a very fair job of weighing the pros and cons of each. It's also an excellent character study, that's filled with involving performances; especially from Viggo, but the child actors are all good as well. It's equally funny, heart breaking and thought provoking. It's definitely a film that will leave a lasting impression on me, and I wouldn't mind revisiting it, at some point in the future. I look forward to seeing more from Matt Ross.
  • frida-8977611 November 2018
    This is honestly one of the greatest movies of all time. It will make you laugh, cry and think. It's not a movie about good vs bad, it's about one belief vs a different one. Critics that complain that the dad's parental beliefs weren't perfect, were COMPLETELY missing the point. They weren't supposed to be. The movie wasn't made to preach this way of living, it was just to display it. It has great character development and is aesthetically pleasing.It's not a movie for hippies , it's for everyone.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Some reviewers love it and a few hate it, but the 'love-its' have it by a country mile.

    As for this reviewer, well, yes I did enjoy it very much, but maybe the first hour a soupçon more than the second hour – but I'm splitting hairs.

    Are you tired of formulaic, franchise hi-tech rubbish that the Hollywood factories churn out these days?

    Do you sometimes wonder if there are any films being made anymore that can make you laugh, make you cry, make you wonder, make you think, and make you leave with a good feeling in your belly?

    If so, then Captain Fantastic may well be the movie for you.

    The story is quite simple. An American couple, Ben and Leslie, decide to uproot from so-called civilized America with their six kids and go and live in a cabin located deep in the mountains of Washington State. There's no electricity or water, no TV, no radio, no smartphones (or any phones) and none of the luxuries - and most might say necessities - of modern day living.

    The children are 'home schooled', are taught to hunt and forage for their food, and they live the life of backwoodsmen. They are obliged to follow a strict and sometimes dangerous fitness regime and are trained to deal with any emergency that may arise.

    They are all apparently happy with their lives in the wilderness, and their intelligent and well-educated parents imbue them with the precepts of socialism and teach them the evils of capitalism, corporate America, and the outside world.

    But Mum, (Leslie), has fallen ill. She has a serious mental disorder - paranoid and bipolar – a condition that has possibly been exacerbated by her chosen lifestyle. We don't see Leslie, except in very brief flashbacks, as when the film opens, she has already been shipped to a hospital where her estranged parents can watch over her.

    Soon after the movie starts, the family learn that Leslie has killed herself and the remainder of the film is devoted to the family's efforts to attend her funeral and what happens in its aftermath.

    Leslie's father, a very wealthy and influential man, blames Ben for the death of his daughter and warns him that if he tries to attend the funeral, he will have him arrested.

    At first, Ben accepts that he cannot go, but the six kids want to see their Mom one last time, so in the end, they load up their converted school bus and head back to civilization.

    The next part of the movie is really a road trip, and there some amusing incidents along the way. One with a cop who stops them for having a faulty tail light, and an embarrassing episode with the eldest son who has his first kiss with a strange girl, and in particular, a planned raid of a supermarket. Here they succeed in stealing hundreds of dollars worth of groceries under the noses of the shop owners.

    There follows a mix of both amusing and serious confrontations with the in-laws. Leslie's father succeeds in extricating the six kids from Ben's custody for a while, but it all works out pretty well in the end.

    The first part of the film was totally captivating in every possible way, but once they embark on their journey back to the real world, some of the plot holes were a little hard to stomach. In particular, the robbery of the food mart didn't sit well with this reviewer. Would a father who despised capitalism and wanted his kids to understand the true meaning of right and wrong embark on such a criminal venture?

    But apart from the moral issues of the robbery, what about the high risks of getting caught? If they were arrested it would be all over for family life in the mountains. Would he really take such a risk?

    Okay, I appreciate it was all done in a spirit of good humor, and it was genuinely funny – but at the expense of the good-natured and well- meaning citizens who become innocent dupes in their felonious act.

    One of the most amazing parts of the film was the kids. From the very start, I completely forgot that I was watching a team of child actors. For me, nearly all films containing child actors, no matter how good they are supposed to be, usually make me squirm a little when the 'little dears' say their lines. I am always painfully aware that the kids are actors acting parts.

    Yet never once throughout the whole movie did I once think to myself, "Hey! these are just kids acting." I was truly in their world from the very first frame of film to the last. All six kids were truly outstanding, and I was transported to their world. As indeed was Viggo Mortenson who played Ben, their father, to say nothing of the remaining ensemble cast. Not a dud between the lot of them. I particularly liked Frank Langella as the grieving, angry father.

    So apart from a couple of plot holes, (which only people like me are mean-spirited enough to take issue with), it is difficult to find fault with this very enjoyable film.

    The cinematography, screenplay, and direction were masterful and I hope we will see much more from the pen and undoubted directing talents of Matt Ross.

    We need more writers and directors like Matt Ross to bring us back to a time when filmmaking isn't just another rehash of yet another comic-book hero or a prequel, sequel, spin-off of Star Wars/Star Trek/West world/Frozen/ Finding Dory……and God only knows what franchise.
  • This film filled with philosophy. One of the quote from the movie is "Power to the people, stick it to the the man" from my perspective i think the movie wants to told us Creating your life with your own power not overshadowing by the government or the society. Whatever you do , do with your own choice and make the world a better place, no one can't stop you from doing that but always remember respect other's viewpoint. Everything in this movie plot, acting, editing, cinematography, soundtrack all are very good. Especially cinematography and soundtrack. Some shots in this movie are simple but filled with complexity at the same time and gorgeous to look at. And when you listen to the soundtrack i'm am sure you will be lost, lost in your own imagination, your own world.
  • claudio_carvalho26 February 2017
    The anti-capitalist Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) lives in the wilderness with his six children: Bo (George MacKay), Kielyr (Samantha Isler), Vespyr (Annalise Basso), Rellian (Nicholas Hamilton), Zaja (Shree Crooks) and Nai (Charlie Shotwell). His wife Leslie (Trin Miller) is hospitalized for bipolar disorder and they have educated their children in the forest teaching them how to survive and a high-level of homeschooling including politics and philosophy. Inclusive Bo has been accepted to the major American universities. When Leslie commits suicide, Ben decides to travel to the funeral with his children to fulfill her will of being cremated, instead of the traditional burial that he father Jack (Frank Langella) wants for his daughter. However his father-in-law promises to call the police and arrest Ben if he attends the funeral. Along the journey of Ben and his children, Bo meets the teenager Claire (Erin Moriarty) and her mother Ellen (Missi Pyle) and he falls in love with her. They spend one troubled night with Ben's sister Harper (Kathryn Hahn), her husband Dave (Steve Zahn) and nephews Justin (Elijah Stevenson) and Jackson (Teddy Van Ee). When they arrive at the church, Jack and his wife Abigail (Ann Dowd) are surprised to see them. Ben makes a speech and discloses Leslie's will to the guest and is expelled from the ceremony. Now Jack wants the custody of his children. What will Ben do?

    "Captain Fantastic" is an awesome film about a father that does not believe in the American Dream and decides to create his children with his wife in the wilderness. Viggo Mortensen has a wonderful performance in the role of a loving father with radical values that learns that his children cannot live isolated in his Utopian world without contact with the real world. The conclusion of the journey of the Cash family is perfect. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "Capitão Fantástico" ("Captain Fantastic")
An error has occured. Please try again.