Review: Captain Fantastic
Director: Matt Ross
By Sarah Stopforth
Captain Fantastic is unique and beautiful in every way, but most of all, it makes you think about the way we live and it makes you feel a roller coaster of emotions.
Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of The Rings) stars as Ben Cash, an idealist father of six, raising his children ‘off the grid’ in the forest of Washington state, while his wife Leslie (Trin Miller) is hospitalised due to a severe case of bi-polar disorder. Their family values include: being strong in body, mind and spirit, and ultimately socialism,“Power to the people – stick it to the man.”
When their eldest son Bodever “Bo” (George MacKay) was born, Ben and Leslie both decided to live the lifestyle, thinking that it would help Leslie’s worsening disease. So Ben continues to raise Bo and his subsequent five kids (all original names), Kielyr, Vespyr, Rellian, Zaja and Nai alone, but as he and Leslie originally planned. But when Leslie takes her own life in hospital, Ben and the kids are sent into a spiral of grief and begin to revaluate their lifestyle.
Being a bit of a hippie at heart, I immensely appreciated the eccentricity of the characters . Among the cast were a band of young performers playing the Cash children were simply beautiful; George MacKay (Bo), Samantha Isler (Kielyr), Annalise Basso (Vespyr), Nicholas Hamilton (Rellian), Shree Crooks (Zaja) and Charlie Shotwell (Nai) all embodied the unique brothers and sisters in the most exquisite way, and Mortensen lead them as the true father of year, Captain Fantastic.
The scene that made the hair on my neck stand up, was when the children sit with their Mother’s cold body on their family bus “Steve”. I cried uncontrollably. This scene is then followed by her cremation to singing and dancing of an acoustic rendition of their Mother’s favourite song, Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O Mine.” I continued to cry… I don’t think I have ever watched such a striking scene, witnessing a family celebrate the spirit of living.
This is probably the most original film you’ll see this year.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’ll change your life.
Captain Fantastic is showing at Luna Palace Cinemas from September 8.