When I walk into a movie theatre 3 weeks after a movie’s local release, especially to see an independent film, I know the word of mouth must be very good. No doubt, 100 degree temperature outside along with killer humidity didn’t hurt, but I was impressed that I had to actually look for a seat in the theatre.
So was my experience one late Sunday afternoon at the Red Bank Bow Tie theatre for a screening of the Viggo Mortensen film “Captain Fantastic”.
I’m sure not an original premise, but boy was this film enjoyable because of a killer script and casting. Mortensen and his father in law played by Frank Langella are the only actors really of popular note.
Mortensen (Ben) and his wife (who we never meet) obviously were kindred spirits who had non traditional thoughts on child rearing. They have 6 kids and set up home in the woods somewhere in the state of Washington. Living 100% off the land, sans any technology with a monster emphasis on candid education, tons of reading and survival skills, this is one very close and I dare say talented family.
The six kids range in age for about 6-18 and they are each remarkably intelligent, driven and talented. Maybe we would call it street smart today but I would simply call it “real world” smart. We never meet Mom who is very sick and subsequently dies. She clearly had her toe in the water of the modern world and the struggle of surviving and dealing with both.
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Ben, is totally old school, and there is only one way. The modern world’s values, foods, morals, distractions and more are literally poison. Ben is brutally honest with his kids while holding the bar very high preparing them for a similar life surviving off the grid.
From bad language, to sharing all the details of the Mom’s death, to drinking alcohol, to knife-wielding survival skills and high level academics, Ben (and we supposed Mom to) are treating the kids as adults from the get go.
I really enjoyed this captivating story with a useless title. Still in Red Bank for one more week…highly recommend. Check your own personal parental values at the door and sit back and observe. Fascinating story and somewhat more so when they have to visit the outside world and that worlds rules and values.