Ben Cash (aka Captain Fantastic) and his wife have made a choice that has revolutionized their lives: raising their six children away from the city and the society, in the heart of a forest in North America.
Under the constant guidance of his father, the children (aged 5 to 17 years) spend their days training physically and intellectually: they hunt for food, they study the sciences and can speak six different languages, they debates about literature and history. They play, sing, celebrate the birthday of Noam Chomsky and reject Christmas and the consumer society.
But the death of the mother, who has been sick for a long time, force them to embark on a journey into the world of normality, a world unknown to them. This trip will bring out reactions, discussions and sufferings for all the family’s members and force Ben to question his way of living and of having grown his own children, although in the film his choice is called “a mistake, a beautiful mistake that has to be done“.
The film is then a mix of comedy, drama and road-movie to the “discovery” of a new world.
Viggo Mortensen, Oscar-nominated actor with “Eastern Promises”, with this film is re-nominated and we could not agree more. He plays a character that, despite the title, has nothing to do with the “glossy” heroes. He plays a father who, like many parents, think has made the best choices for their own children: he disdains the mass culture, rejects junk-food and ignorance. The fact that the actor is a charismatic, versatile artist and photographer, is just a detail that adds even more depth to this incredible character. On his role as a father on the film he said: “Although I am a father, the most difficult job of all time and even I, several times, I asked myself those questions, and thanks to this film I was able to take an emotional journey”.
“Captain Fantastic”, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, went up and won the award for Best Director at Cannes Film Festival.
Director Matt Ross has managed to create an exciting and intelligent film, which under the carnivalesque face and a little bit vintage one, touches more contemporary themes. Indeed what makes Captain Fantastic an important movie, it’s the discussion about the theme of education.
He wants to be an ode to good education, to books, to the right way of being intellectuals without ostentation.
But even the plan, and this “fantastic” man reveal great fragility and suffering. Because to question oneself is the most intelligent act that you can do, even if it requires a good dose of strength and suffering.
Viggo Mortensen that perfectly embodies a father who is companion and dictator said: “What he teaches to his children in an effort to be a good parent, is to question everything: themselves, him, brothers and sisters. For Ben no argument is a taboo. He is a father who wants to talk with his children, honestly wants to argue with them, so that they form their opinions and they can learn to question these, then knowing how to defend them. I think it’s fantastic, but unfortunately there isn’t a perfect father: he makes mistakes. “
“If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world”. cit. Noam Chomsky.