Film of the Week: Captain Fantastic (2016)

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Matt Ross directs Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay and Frank Langella in this road trip that follows a survivalist / humanist family reentering modern American society to attend their matriarch’s funeral.

Summer’s gone and with all the blockbuster disappointments out of the way we get yet another small scale, emotionally resonant adult movie (the second in two weeks). Is this the future? September is now the only month where anything without FX shots but maybe containing a good story and a decent ensemble gets penned into together to fight it out for scraps of audience? Either way this funny, moving little picture told with intelligent confidence has much to say about parenting, capitalism, modern society, death, grief and what it takes to be an adult. Viggo is better than he has been anytime else as the hardline but loving Dad, committed to raising his children with a holistic value system even it means cutting them off from luxuries and other people. He’s always felt like an awkward actor outside of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy so it is a delight to see him carry a movie with his intense, manly presence. But it is MacKay, as the eldest son struggling to see what his next step in the world is now he no longer has to stay in the family commune lifestyle he has wholeheartedly embraced, who stays with you after. He hits great laughs in his fish out of water interactions with girls his own age and you care about the quiet turmoil he faces in trying to align his long held belief system with wanting to venture away and experience life. The colourful, well read, feel good flick of the Autumn.

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