In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.
A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.
Ben and Leslie Cash have long lived largely off the grid with their offspring - Bodevan, Kielyr, Vespyr, Rellian, Zaja and Nai - in a cabin in the mountains of Washington state. The parents have passed their ideals to their children, namely socialism (in its various forms) and survivalism. With the former, Ben considers most of western society as being fascist, especially corporate America. With the latter, he figures that no one will or should be there for you, so you better learn how to take care of yourself in all its aspects. As such, the children have been subject to vigorous physical training, know how to deal with minor bumps, bruises, cuts, sprains and even fractures, and know how to hunt, forage and grow their own food. The children are also non-registered home schooled, meaning that they have no official academic records. Ben and Leslie have tried to make the children critical thinkers, however within the context of their ideals. Beyond these issues, Ben and Leslie made the ... Written by
In the last scenes Viggo Mortensen's character is wearing a t-shirt that reads "Jesse Jackson 88". Jesse Jackson is an American civil rights activist and politician, who ran for president with the Democratic Party in 1984 and 1988. See more »
After Rellian goes to live with his grandparents, Ben's daughter hurts herself climbing the roof. Ben takes the kids to their grandparents house to live as a result. On screen, Rellian enters with them as Ben leads them all in, suggesting he's never been there before. This could be seen as inaccurate, since Rellian had already been living there at this point, however as they all came from the hospital together they could easily all be marched in by the dad together into the house. See more »
[family gathers around the slain deer]
Today, the boy is dead. And in his place... is a man.
[rips off a bloody bite of the offered morsel]
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Goldberg Variations; BWV 988, Variation 25 A 2 Clav.: Adagio
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged and Performed by Glenn Gould
Courtesy of Sony Classical
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing and CCS Rights Management See more »
"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!
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