Captain Fantastic (2016)

For me, this film oscillated back and forth from charming, thoughtful indie film fare, to cloying, didactic indie film fare…but all the while, Viggo Mortensen anchors it with a fantastic, powerful performance.

I wish it was more of an earnest, well-realised exploration of the challenges and opportunities of parenthood, but the film always flinches away when it comes close to delivering any sort of nuanced point, quickly scampering back to the most appropriate indie film trope to defuse the need to provide any actual answers. It actually gets kind of infuriating in the third act.

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Purely as a story of one family, of Viggo’s father character alone, the film works excellently, but you can see it reach for greater heights often, and it’s a shame to see it never quite hit them. It’s a fun, very well-acted quirky movie, but it could have been something a lot greater. As it is, I give it three Noam Chomsky cakes, and an honest-to-god, straight-faced “Sweet Child O’ Mine” singalong.

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