Captain Fantastic

Written and directed by Matt Ross, “Captain Fantastic” is perhaps the most beautiful film put out in many years. It tells the story of a family living in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, surviving off of the land.

Viggo Mortensen plays Ben, a father who raises his children away from society, training them to be hunters and philosophers. The first scene is of an epic chase of a deer in the forest. In a manner that can only be equated to tribal tradition, the children stalk the animal while covered in black mud. When the eldest son takes down the deer, he is fed its heart and pronounced a man. Although, the film is not filled with scenes aimed at shock value. It has far too much depth to be described in that way.

When tragedy strikes, the family is forced to go into the city and face the rest of the world. Ben and his children stop at a diner in a small town, and everything is bizarre to the kids. They had never heard of soda, and they don’t understand why everyone is so overweight around them.

Quickly though, it becomes clear to them that they are the “strange” ones. When they visit their relatives, Ben is confronted with disdain and concern for how he chooses to raise his children. Everyone is panicked that he is not providing them with an adequate upbringing, while he feels it is the only acceptable path.

Together, they go on a journey that invokes the beauty, wildness, and sadness of being human.

“Captain Fantastic” takes audiences through the spectrum of human emotion, and truly makes one think about what it means to live in society today so far disconnected from our animal roots.

Each character delivers a raw and authentic performance. At moments Ben seems like a lunatic; at other times he seems like he is actually the sanest person on the planet.

The film is beautifully shot in some amazing parts of Washington, inciting nostalgia for Seattleites.

The music is subtle and helps to make the film a riveting experience.

Not just a movie, but a true masterpiece. Though it seems like a massive understatement, I give “Captain Fantastic” 5 out of 5 stars.