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Captain Fantastic

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Living off the grid has its pros and cons in a domestic drama touched by a wayward spirit

Viggo Mortensen will always be our Aragorn, charging the Black Gate and stirring Middle-earth spirits: ‘This day, we fight!’ But there has always been a soulful, hippyish side to the actor (in real life, too) and ‘Captain Fantastic’, an unusual anti-domestic drama, captures something brainy and bullheaded about him that feels true.

He plays Ben, an off-the-grid survivalist and intellectual blessed with six kids whom he’s raising in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. We get to know the children like the animals on Noah’s ark: a pair of surly almost-men, a pair of beautifully confident teenage girls; a pair of blond tykes. All of them are proficient in hunting, knives and high-level literature, but their Noam Chomsky-adoring mother has just committed suicide, and Ben dreads the inevitable confrontation with society and its expectations.

The movie works best in the clan’s private world (even if rock climbing in the rain seems like poor parenting). But then it deflates: Frank Langella, normally a welcome presence, is clownish as a mean grandfather, and the plot wraps up far too abruptly.

Joshua Rothkopf
Written by
Joshua Rothkopf

Release Details

  • Release date:Tuesday 6 September 2016
  • Duration:118 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Matt Ross
  • Screenwriter:Matt Ross
  • Cast:
    • Viggo Mortensen
    • Frank Langella
    • Kathryn Hahn
    • Steve Zahn
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