Captain Fantastic (15)
2016 ( USA ) ( Comedy, Drama )
STARRING: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Frank Langella
DIRECTOR: Matt Ross
What is the ideal way in which to bring up children? This is the nagging question at the heart of Captain Fantastic, which might best be described as a family movie with very sharp claws. Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) is an academic who has opted out of the rat race in favour of living in the wilderness in the Pacific Northwest. His six children climb mountains, run uphill, hunt, read classic literature, study physics and celebrate Noam Chomsky Day instead of Christmas. It’s tough love, and it gets even tougher when Ben receives news that his wife, who was hospitalised for depression, has killed herself. Her death means that the family has to go on the road to her funeral, which is being organised by her wealthy businessman father (Frank Langella) who utterly despises Ben’s hippy lifestyle. Ben is trying to fulfil his wife’s wishes but there are continual hints that their relationship might have been foundering and that she no longer supported the family’s wilderness lifestyle.
Captain Fantastic’s thought-provoking themes, and an absorbing starring turn from Viggo Mortensen, add up to an above-average family drama with unexpected twists.