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Captain Fantastic (2016)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 29 July 2016 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Matt Ross

Writer:

Matt Ross
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Popularity
1,178 ( 14)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 43 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Viggo Mortensen ... Ben
George MacKay ... Bodevan
Samantha Isler ... Kielyr
Annalise Basso ... Vespyr
Nicholas Hamilton ... Rellian
Shree Crooks ... Zaja
Charlie Shotwell ... Nai
Trin Miller ... Leslie
Kathryn Hahn ... Harper
Steve Zahn ... Dave
Elijah Stevenson ... Justin
Teddy Van Ee ... Jackson
Erin Moriarty ... Claire
Missi Pyle ... Ellen
Frank Langella ... Jack
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Storyline

Ben and Leslie Cash live 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 socialist and survivalist ideals to their children. Ben considers most of Western society to be fascist, especially corporate America. He also believes that no one will or should be there for you, so you'd better learn how to take care of yourself. 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 decision to live this lifestyle for Leslie's health. Formerly an attorney, Leslie was... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He Prepared Them For Everything Except The Outside World See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief graphic nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Esperanto

Release Date:

29 July 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Captain Fantastic See more »

Filming Locations:

Washington State, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$93,824, 10 July 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,875,006, 23 October 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,997,061, 4 August 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the second movie actress Kathryn Hahn has starred in that contains a family of children that sing a rehearsed performance of Sweet Child of Mine. The first being from the comedy Step Brothers. See more »

Goofs

The college acceptance letters that Bo receives in July 2015 all invite him to join the Class of 2016. Assuming he applied to start college in the Fall of 2015, there are two obvious errors with these letters. First, Ivy League-type colleges usually accept students in late-March or early-April, so receiving letters in July is unlikely. Second, even if the timing wasn't a problem, the Class identified in the letters is wrong; Bo would be in the Class of 2019 if he started in the Fall of 2015. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ben: [family gathers around the slain deer] Today, the boy is dead. And in his place... is a man.
Bo: [rips off a bloody bite of the offered morsel]
See more »


Soundtracks

Goldberg Variations; BWV 988, Variation 25 A 2 Clav.: Adagio
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged and Performed by Glenn Gould
Courtesy of Sony Classical
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing and CCS Rights Management
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User Reviews

 
a clash of philosophies
15 July 2016 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. There seems to be no end to the theories on how to be an effective parent and raise kids who are productive, well-adjusted and successful. Writer/director Matt Ross offers up a creative, entertaining and thought-provoking story of one family's unconventional approach in a world that seems to expect and accept only the conventional.

We are first introduced to Ben (Viggo Mortensen) and his six kids as they are stalking a deer while deep in the Pacific Northwest forest … only this isn't your buddy's weekend deer hunting trip. Each family member is covered head-to-toe in mud and other means of camouflage, and the oldest son Bodevan (George MacKay) takes the lead with his knife in what is presented as a rite of passage into manhood.

The family carries out a daily ritual that includes extreme physical conditioning, lessons on survival and living off the land, and advanced education that includes reading such diverse material as Dostoevsky and Lolita. Each evening is capped off with an impromptu musical jam. It's evident that self-sufficiency, intelligence and family loyalty are crucial to Ben's approach … an approach that is challenged when circumstances require the family board their Partridge Family bus (named Steve) and take a cross-country road trip into a civilization that doesn't know what to make of them (and vice-versa).

The film is jam-packed with social commentary on education, parenting, societal norms, societal influences, and even grief. Who gets to decide what is best for a family or what's the best method for education? Sometimes the dysfunctional family isn't so easy to identify. Director Ross proves this in a gem of a dinner table scene as Ben and the kids visit Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn and their two sons in suburbia.

In addition to the terrific performance by up-and-comer George MacKay, the other actors playing the kids are all very strong and believable: Samantha Isler as Kieyler, Annalise Basso as Vespyr, Nicholas Hamilton as Rellian, Shree Crooks as Zaja, and Charlie Shotwell as Nai. Screen vets Frank Langella and Ann Dowd bring presence to the role of their grandparents and provide the greatest contrast to the off-the-grid existence of the kids.

Viggo Mortensen truly shines here and gives a performance full of grace and depth as he displays many emotions (some of which aren't so pleasant). He even goes full-Viggo for one of the film's many humorous moments … though the comedy is balanced by plenty of full scale drama. His best work comes in the scenes when he begins to question that there may be some flaws in his plan … the moments of self-realization are stunning.

Many will note some similarities between this film and Little Miss Sunshine (2006), though this one carries quite a bit more heft. It's beautifully photographed by cinematographer Stephane Fontaine (A Prophet, Rust and Bone) and captures the danger and solitude of the forest, while also capturing the more personal family dynamics. It's a film that should generate plenty of discussion, and one of the questions is … will Noam Chomsky Day ever match Festivus in popularity?


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