Captain Fantastic: Film Review

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I had wanted to see Captain Fantastic ever since I saw the trailer because it looks so wonderful and I wasn’t wrong – I wholeheartedly recommend this to everyone as it is just brilliant and leaves you with such a warm heart and gushing smile.

Ben (Viggo Mortensen) and his six children live an eccentric way of life isolated in the forests of the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. where he home schools them, teaches them to hunt, be at their physical peak, and treats them like adults in a world away from modern technology. It only becomes apparent how different they are when the family head back to civilisation for their mother’s funeral and her father (Frank Langella) questions if Ben is a responsible parent.

Although it is fictional, it is still fascinating to see how being raised away from the modern world can change a person and at times it seemed like a healthier option to me. The kids seemed smarter and fitter than their modern counterparts, who are attached to their games consoles and phones. The six kids aren’t well-adjusted socially and this particularly affects the oldest boy Bo (George MacKay), who is becoming interested in girls but hasn’t been taught how to deal with them.

It really makes you think about what makes a good parent. Who is to judge which upbringing is right or wrong? This is best shown in a dinner scene with relatives Harper (Kathryn Hahn) and Dan (Steve Zahn) who cannot believe the stuff Ben tells his kids and disagree with his parenting choices although their kids are consumed by their phones at the table and don’t even participate.

Naturally, this culture clash is very funny and I laughed out loud a lot, but this is equally balanced by really sad, poignant moments, especially when Ben starts believing he is a bad father. Mortensen is incredible by the way and this one of my favourite performances of his ever. I also thought McKay was also well cast and showed off his incredible accent abilities once again. His journey was the most touching because the cultural change affected him the most and he starts to long for a different life.

This goes on a touch too long and I couldn’t figure out where it was going to end up but I loved it all the same. All the children are distinct characters and wonderful. I want to watch it again. Fantastic film (pun intended).

In cinemas Friday 9th September 

Comments

  1. Great review of a film that I enjoyed thoroughly too. Check out my version.

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