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Captain Fantastic

Captain Fantastic

Released 9 September 2016
Director Matt Ross
Starring





Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell, Trin Miller, Steve Zahn, Frank Langella
Writer(s) Matt Ross
Producer(s)


Monica Levinson, Jamie Patricof, Shivani Rawat, Lynette Howell Taylor
Origin United States
Running Time 118 minutes
Genre Comedy, drama, romance
Rating 15A
77

A necessary illusion.

There's bound to be confusion at box offices up and down the land as superhero fans throw down their money for Captain Fantastic. They may be expecting another summer blockbuster but what they'll end up getting is a quietly powerful family drama about loss, parenting and modern life. It will do them all some good!

Viggo Mortensen plays Ben, the unconventional father to six young children. The family live together in the mountainous wilds of the Pacific Northwest, where Ben teaches them literature, science, survivalist skills and the nuances of anarco-primitivism. Following a tragedy, Ben and his children are forced to leave their idyll to take a road trip through a capitalist American landscape that is completely at odds with their own lifestyle. Here the children have their eyes opened to the ways of the wider world, in both positive and negative ways.

This culture clash is wonderfully handled by a strong cast of established actors and young newcomers. Mortensen gives a moving performance as a grieving father who is finally forced to consider that his way of life may not be the best way forward for his children. These children are also fantastically naturalistic in their performances. George McKay as eldest son Bodevan is particularly charming as he becomes intoxicated by the possibilities of the world.

The use of the road trip as a device is a clever and fruitful one. As the family are thrown into Modern American society, writer/director Matt Ross is able to create scenarios that vary from brilliantly amusing to heartbreakingly poignant. The overall product is as warm and satisfying as a great big hug.

- Linda O'Brien