[Movie Review] Captain Fantastic (2016) - Alvinology

[Movie Review] Captain Fantastic (2016)

Captain Fantastic is a 2016 American drama film written and directed by Matt Ross and starring Viggo Mortensen. The story revolves around on a man who attempts to reintegrate into society after living in isolation for a decade.


The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2016 and was aired in Un Certain Regard at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, with Matt Ross winning the Best Director prize.

Yes, it is an arthouse film, but trust me on this, it is one that is quite watchable and accessible to mainstream audience.

Ben Cash (played by Mortensen) raises his six children off the grid in the forests of the Pacific Northwest but leaves his family’s isolation to attend his wife’s funeral in New Mexico after she kills herself in an institution.

During the trip, Ben and his kids are drawn into various conflicts with modern society. They range from getting a cultural shock from the alarming obesity rate in America to innocuous stuff like tech gadgets obsession at the dining table.


If you delve deeper, the film brings out the excesses of modern consumerism and capitalism, making you question your values and what is the true meaning of life.

What modern society deems as appropriate and lawful behaviour; should these also be applied to “wild, barbaric” people living outside of the system for years?

For instance, there was a scene where the Cash family went on a planned stealing trip at a supermarket. They stole just the food they needed and treated it like a hunting expedition, like how they would have done it in the wild. Clearly, they broke the law of modern society. However, if viewed from the context of the woods, they were just “hunting”.

There are many other such moral dilemma which pops up along the way, making you question the way we are used to seeing things.

Captain Fantastic is one of the better films I have seen this year in 2016 and would recommend it to those who enjoy films with a little depth.

The film is rated M18 for some nudity and coarse languages. It will be showing in Singapore cinemas from 14 July. Go catch it!

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