Viggo Mortensen isn’t the first person that comes to mind to play the character of Captain Fantastic until you realize that Captain Fantastic isn’t a Marvel Comics super hero. In fact, the somber, brooding Danish actor is every bit the perfect part for Ben, the patriarch of a brood of six siblings being raised in the Pacific Northwest wilderness. (Much of the movie was filmed in the State of Washington.)
The three boys and three girls, ranging in ages from about five to eighteen, are all adept at, among other things, hunting, rock climbing, spear fishing, languages, literature, science, history, and above all, fending for themselves. Although the plot is somewhat predictable, the acting is outstanding, especially that of the youngsters. I am always amazed that a six-year-old cannot only memorize many lines of a film script but also have such remarkable camera presence.
Truth be known, I can’t remember a film that starred a child actor/actress that wasn’t entertaining. Perhaps it is the sheer innocence of children that is reflected on the screen as a certain purity that fades with age, a freshness that one’s inner self connects with, sort of like the first time you made a snow angel or rode on a merry-go-round.
Some critics have called Captain Fantastic a comedy. Some have called it a drama. For my part, it is a dramedy. I laughed. I cried. I felt angst. I felt fear. The movie engaged all of my emotions, and when a movie can do that, I give it a thumbs up. And thought-provoking as it is, above all it is entertaining.
If you can still find it in a theater, do see Captain Fantastic. If is already gone, keep an eye out for it on DVD, Netflix, Amazon or in a secondary theater, and see it. You will not be disappointed.