In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
Ben and Leslie Cash have long lived largely off the grid with their offspring - Bodevan, Kielyr, Vespyr, Rellian, Zaja and Nai - in a cabin in the mountains of Washington state. The parents have passed their ideals to their children, namely socialism (in its various forms) and survivalism. With the former, Ben considers most of western society as being fascist, especially corporate America. With the latter, he figures that no one will or should be there for you, so you better learn how to take care of yourself in all its aspects. As such, the children have been subject to vigorous physical training, know how to deal with minor bumps, bruises, cuts, sprains and even fractures, and know how to hunt, forage and grow their own food. The children are also non-registered home schooled, meaning that they have no official academic records. Ben and Leslie have tried to make the children critical thinkers, however within the context of their ideals. Beyond these issues, Ben and Leslie made the ... Written by
The outdoor scenes at the beginning are from the North Cascades in Whatcom County, northern Washington state. The big glaciated peak behind the family meditation scene is Mt. Shuksan, east of Mt. Baker. See more »
After Rellian goes to live with his grandparents, Ben's daughter hurts herself climbing the roof. Ben takes the kids to their grandparents house to live as a result. On screen, Rellian enters with them as Ben leads them all in, suggesting he's never been there before. This could be seen as inaccurate, since Rellian had already been living there at this point, however as they all came from the hospital together they could easily all be marched in by the dad together into the house. See more »
[family gathers around the slain deer]
Today, the boy is dead. And in his place... is a man.
[rips off a bloody bite of the offered morsel]
See more »
Ben and Civil Disobedience. An interesting take on checking out on society. With a top layer of dealing with hardship and what it means to live the good life
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." Henry David Thoreau
I just happen to be reading Henry David Thoreau's book Walden for a philosophy club. When I saw this trailer I told myself I had to see this before it left my city. The similarity between the book Walden and this film are pretty high. With similar topics of arguments against commercialism and full industrialism. Then throw on top a yearning for spiritual truth and self-reliance. Still, this isn't just a stick your middle finger at the system film. It's way more than that.
Matt Ross has an interesting meditation on what it means to live outside society in America. He shows a couple reasons why someone would do this and show the pros and cons in a very interesting way. The views evolve as the story moves on. Such is life eh?
Viggo Mortensen acting is amazing in this role. With that said, don't overlook Jack (Frank Langella) acting in the film. For a good portion of the film, we only see the point of view from the family and mostly Ben (Viggo Mortensen) at that. But later in the film, you see Jack's motives too. I can see why he acted the way he did and I may have done this same if I was in his spot too.
Bo (George MacKay) gets a couple good scenes too. It's great to see him fumble through interactions throughout the film and to discover what he wants out of adult life. This may or may not conflict with what his dad wants.
I highly recommend this film and can't wait to see what Matt Ross does in the future. If this film comes to your town do yourself a favour and see it. Clever films are rare and need to be supported.
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