Words on the Internet

these are my stream of consciousness reviews and thoughts. i don't proofread before publishing so forgive the editing or lack thereof 

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (2016)

Plane Movie! 

Heartfelt, unique, made a statement, and entertaining. Loved it. 

Checked all the boxes a movie should. Very few missteps. 

It followed the ‘save the cat’ structure pretty closely and it makes sense - i notice it but when i do i tend to enjoy the movies. The catalyst, the debate, the fun and games, the midpoint (in this case a false low), the bad guys close in (fighting with grandparents and losing the kids), dark night of the soul (when he’s alone at the campfire), finale (they did up mom and burn her). And they end with some nice character change. 

The opening image was sprawling mountains and the final was Ben looking out the window longingly. He became domesticated, slightly, in order to better serve his children. 

The argument of the film seems to surround the effectiveness of our current method of raising kids, but as a mirror for society as a whole. The angelic lifestyle created by Ben and his family forces you to consider it as an alternative option to our current urban way of life. 

Maybe we all should just read and hunt in the woods? The end of the film seems to suggest that maybe somewhere in between is the best - I tend to agree. 

Viggo Mortensen does a great job with thoughtful, restrained, and confident charisma. And the kids all look like they were pulled from a j crew commercial then thrown through the mud. Beautiful kids and amazing casting. Super fun to watch and great acting. 

There are a few amazing moments - one of my favorites is when Ben (Viggo) crashes the funeral and reads his wife’s will. It felt real and dramatic. 

The stakes in the film were established early and the conflict in the debate was amazing - a tough decision (go to mom’s funeral and risk losing dad) that is fun to consider. 

Grandpa is also a great antagonist - he’s a bit over the top but he also calcifies and represents a very real view: that Ben’s way of raising kids is dangerous and alienating. It’s not untrue and that’s what makes the conflict engaging. 

The story remains whimsical and fantastic while rooted in our modern reality - this combination is rare and wonderful to see. 

The script and story also reek of intellectual research and the patina the dialogue from the hyper-educated kids is a delight to listen to. 

The oldest boys interactions with girls was a little on the absurd (him proposing to the girl in the trailer park was unrealistic - they get modern magazines and he was applying to college - he would know he was moving too quickly). Despite that, I loved the scene. His confusion was well played and fun - even though my disbelief wasn’t fully suspended in that moment. 

A satisfying, modern-but-timeless story that holds a mirror up to society and asks the question: Are we going in the right direction? 

The best movies are art, and the best art encapsulates an idea in an entertaining package. 

Captain Fantastic did just that. Oh, it should have a better name. Captain Fantastic makes it sound like a cheeseball family drama, which it is in some ways, but it’s a whole lot more. Especially rated R, they should have gone with something a bit more provocative. Captain Fantastic plus the fact that it’s about a father and his kids makes it seem watery and empty. That’s not the case. Plus it sounds like a superhero movie (which is maybe the point - the Ben is a modern day superhero - but that’s a bit meta I think and probably unlikely). Maybe a name like ‘In the Mountains we Yell”.