When I set up my DVR to record Captain Fantastic, it was an accident on my part, but when I came across it in my list of films, I watched it. It is coined as a drama/comedy but for the life of me, I don't get the comedy label.  More on that later.

If you have not read any synopsis or movie description of Captain Fantastic, you might be confused by the opening scenes of what looks like tribal villagers stalking and killing a deer, but as we learn quickly, it's so much more than that.

Captain Fantastic stars Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Steve Zahn and Kathryn Hahn, Erin Moriarty and Frank Langella. It's written and directed by Matt Ross, whose directorial resume includes 28 Hotel Rooms, and an episode of Silicon Valley. As an actor, he has 38 credits to his name.

The film synopsis reads

"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. "

Like I said, we watch the opening, which turns out to be Ben (Mortensen) and his family of six kids stalking and killing a deer for their meal. They've been living off the grid rather successfully, but Ben has made it his point to makes sure his family is amazing intelligent, intellectual and physically fit.

Ben and his wife, Leslie (Trin Miller), turned to the survivalist mode because they are activists who find themselves disillusioned with capitalism and American life. They also instill left wing politics and a deep sense of philosophy in their children as they teach them to think critically, be self-reliant, adverse to technology and the gifts of coexisting with nature.

Everything is great and grand, but Leslie had a bit of a problem with a bipolar disorder and as Ben put it, she finally ends up committing suicide, thus, forcing Ben to do things he isn't fond of.

Leslie's father plans to have a traditional funeral, while Leslie wanted to be cremated and poured down a toilet. But Leslie's father hates Ben and what he's done with his family, and Ben finds himself on a road trip to... attend the funeral.


The film starts out confusingly, but by the end of the first act you have the family all figured out and what they're about. By mid-second act, everything is in motion, with Ben's challenges and issues with everyone around him, including even his kids, as they have to deal with the death of their mom, starting to doubt their father's beliefs and outside influences from various family members.

The first act was tough for me to get through but it grew on me to the point of wanting to see where things develop with his family members and kids.

By the third act I was pretty invested in seeing where everyone went and how they developed. It was a worthy bit of time. For me I'd give the film a dramatic 8 for sure. IMDb users gave it a 7.9 out of 10.

If you have the patience, I think you will find Captain Fantastic a great little film experience.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Follow Cinema Static on: