Ben (Viggo Mortensen) has raised his family away from society, teaching them to think for themselves, to hunt, to eat natural foods and to enjoy the simple things in life. But when his wife, who had been in hospital for the past three months, dies Ben and his children are forced to venture back into the civilised world as she wanted to be cremated but her father, who hates Ben, has arranged for a church funeral. Not only does her father hate Ben he threatens to call the police if he shows up and also wants custody of the children, who whilst smart and independent have no idea about things in the civilised world.
I rarely believe the hype when it comes to modern movies, it seems far too often a popular movie is popular because it goes big with lots of action, lots of cgi, lots of stars and generally delivers commercial entertainment. Not that there is anything wrong with that as once upon a time I was a sucker for commercial entertainment. But as such when I come across a movie which lots of people say is the best thing since the last best thing I tend to avoid them. But I have to say that "Captain Fantastic" deserves the praise as this is not big and brassy entertainment but smart, funny and insightful in its observations.
It is one of those observations which sort of best sums up this movie as having raised his children away from society, when the children see the stereotypical overweight American they are shocked and ask whether they are ill. It is amusing but so powerful as it seriously makes you question how messed up our lives are where we eat processed foods and for some the only walking they do is from their house to their car. But there is also drama in "Captain Fantastic" as we not only have issues between Ben and his father-in-law but also one of his sons and this leads to Ben beginning to question whether the way he lives and raised the children is right. I could go on because "Captain Fantastic" is a movie rich with story, insights and humour and strong performances throughout.
What this all boils down to is that "Captain Fantastic" is one of those movies which is genuinely better than average with barely a scene which doesn't offer something to make you smile, think or connect with. And it is also one of those movies which once you watch it you will want to watch it again.