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Top 25 of 2016: 24) Captain Fantastic


“Captain Fantastic” spoke to the idea of the 2016 idealistic bubble without directly addressing it. Focusing on a hippie dad trying to do right by his kids, he slowly finds out that his off-the-grid children can’t adapt to modern society. The in-laws and grandparents fight to get the minor children back, while the ones above 18 and dear ol’ Captain Fantastic dad tries to keep the unit together. But, does it matter? Love is enough for most, but the issues at hand go beyond love.

Viggo Mortensen plays a man of ideals fighting past his immediate grief. But, there’s also the sudden realization that he drug children along on a two decade long trek through something they couldn’t process. Eventually, Mortensen backslides into the typical Leftist bubble that has dominated most of 2016. It’s one thing to live a solitary life where you define what works, as long as you don’t infringe on the rights of others. As a parent, you’re not directly infringing on rights…but you are putting a child in and out of danger with your actions.

When the kids’ grandfather finds one of them with a broken hand and multiple bruises, he rightfully gets the Law involved. It’s from there that we see a battle of the wills that skirts around the obvious mental issues with the father. Viggo Mortensen is playing the character as he would exist in the real world. This isn’t a dad trying to have a Thoreau life for his kids. He’s conditioning these kids in a way that wouldn’t be too far off from a guerilla training camp. The kids have no life and no secrets outside of his knowledge. When they try to exert a degree of independence, it’s smashed down.

The brutality of a father watching some of his kids state that life isn’t working, says a lot about the ideologies of this past year. These aren’t people trying to hurt the dad, they just want him to acknowledge that things aren’t working. When Mortensen flies off the handle, even the most independent of the kids can’t fight their conditioning to fight through his bullshit. It’s frightening to examine patterns of psychological abuse and conditioning like this. Hopefully, we’ll see it show up around Oscar time.


  • 1 hr and 58 mins
  • R
  • Universal


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