Captain Fantastic- A Wonderful Adventure About Traditions and Change



A thoughtful and engaging story with incredible writing and perspective, Captain Fantastic will immerse you in the changing lives of the characters and bring you along for a fantastic story.

“Captain Fantastic” is a rare example of a film that takes the philosophy of ‘less is more’ in regard to character development. The film has a rich atmosphere and incredible visuals. I would put this movie in one of my top ten.

The movie starts showing Ben, a father of six, living in the woods with his family. Everything they do is mostly by hand or by using tools that they either made or bought sparingly. Ben is running a sort of homeschool, where his kids will be taught survival skills and many different philosophies from books that they read. He soon finds out that his wife died, and is told not to come to the funeral by his father in law. The kids are distraught by this news, and insist on going to the funeral. The kids eventually convince him to go, against his father in law’s wishes. During the long road trip to the funeral, the family takes their bus into many different towns and cities and explores what modern day society has to offer.

Eventually, the family gets to the funeral and is kicked out. One of the children wants to stay with the father in law and decides to abandon his ways of living in a primitive way in favor of a more “normal life.” The father sends one of his daughters to go bring the boy back, but she ends up nearly fatally injuring herself in trying to do so.

The father in law tries to sue for custody of his children, saying that what he has put them through is child abuse. The father eventually lets him take them after recalling what had almost happened to his daughter. The father drives away in his van and finds a quiet spot to sit down and think about his life. Without the father knowing all of the children stowed away on his van and wanting to “finish the mission” they want to fulfill their mothers wish and cremate her. The family goes to the graveyard and digs up her casket and cremates her in a pyre that they built.

I could talk for hours on what made this movie so terrific, but what sticks out to me is how it conveys so many different perspectives. From the almost primitive way of life that the family has in the start of the movie to the emotional conundrum that the family finds themselves in at a choice to abandon all the simple ways of life that they cherish in favor of a more traditional way of life.

A quote from the film that I enjoyed was from the eldest son saying, “Unless it’s from a book, I don’t know it! I know nothing!” This was spoken after he had a rude awakening about how little he knows about living life. What he knows may be practical, and may be useful, but it’s not life, and he won’t understand how to live his life unless he starts going beyond what he knows.

The only criticism I could have for this movie is how it did its development of the children. The father’s children almost occupy a plot convenience role in the film in terms of pacing. I would rather the film spend more time on the children and have their own personalities be known before needing them for an integral plot point that seems out of nowhere.

“Captain Fantastic” is a multi-leveled narrative masterpiece that I would recommend to anyone who wants to watch a movie that will punch you in the feelings, but ultimately leave you with a sense of resolution.