Captain Fantastic, directed by Matt Ross, is set in a forest in the North West of the USA. The main character is a eccentric family man, played by Viggo Mortensen, who coexists with their six children in the wildlife leading an unusual lifestyle. Although at first sight the film seems to give the impression of being a powerful drama, it actually turns out to be a story of hope and optimism.
The film centres on Ben Cash who, along with his wife Leslie, has raised his children in the middle of nature quite apart from a consumer society. In their everyday life Ben teaches history, maths, phylosophy and languages to their children at the same time as children are given a strict sport training and are even made to hunt to provide their own food, becoming more independent and developing physical and mental skills in a society without technology. Even though their life wandering as normal they soon have to face an unexpected turn of events when Ben's wife, who has been suffering from bipolar disorder for some time, suicides after being sent to her parents' by Ben in the hope that she could recover from her illness.
At this point Ben decide to attend the funeral in order to fulfill the last will of his wife in spite of knowing that he won't be welcomed there. That's when the whole family starts a trip in which they have to get away from their daily routine and cope with the real life. On their tour to the funeral the family experience situations and feelings very different from they are used to, and this new experience provide the children with the unique opportunity to develop a keener understanding of the real world making them end up feeling frustrated when realising that their education is not as ideal as they thought it was.
The film reaches a dramatic climax in the funeral when Ben and the children interrupt the ceremony trying to fulfill Leslie's will. This situation appears to be annoying for their father in law who makes the decision to taking custody. As a result, the family have ups and downs, which in turn, makes Ben casts him as a good father so that he is back to his old self. Despite this, they tackle problem after problem in order to achieve their goal and fulfill Leslie's will.
Captain Fantastic covers some of the problems young people face in our society today in which consumerism and the new technologies seem to fill all gaps in our hectic lifestyles. The film is all done in a realistic way with a lot of colourful scenes that prevent you from taking your eyes off the screen for a single instant and it has a surprising end that will change the way you see the concept of family. The cast is excellent, and needless to say that Viggo is brilliant in his role, convincing in the emotions he portrays throughout. It is no surprise that he was nominated to the Oscar for the best actor for this role.
If you enjoy seeing a good triumph over stereotypes and are fond of unpredictable endings, then you should definitely see this film. Although it might not be the most fascinating film you will ever watch, there is no denying that It can teach you about love, family unit and survival in a material world dominated by technologies and the neccesity of being like everybody else.