Captain Fantastic

AKA “how a disheveled hippie family learns the hard way to accept that Noam Chomsky is a goatbrain!” Viggo Mortensen, wearing a Jesse Jackson T-shirt, decides that his six kids should have survivalist skills as well as intellectual stimulants, so he moves his family into the woods, abandoning conventional society and proceeds to put his kids in harm’s way daily. There’s a lot to hate about this crystal-gazing, earth-mother, smug-funneled version of The Great Santini but at its core it’s an examination of Aristotelian logic versus Platonic idealism. Director Matt Ross concentrates on those cracks in the armor of both the methods and the motives of an iconoclastic parent who has decided to submerge his mind in emotion and the conflict it creates for those around him. I recognized his recklessness when he permits his eldest daughter to misinterpret the meaning in Nabokov’s Lolita as a statement against rape, which is nothing of the sort. The point Nabokov was making was that even a European pervert is more moral than an American relativist (i.e. liberal)! Mortensen’s character just cannot bring himself to acknowledge that he is as narrow-minded as the relatives he labels “fascist capitalists.” With their mom hospitalized, her parents seize the opportunity to gain custody of the kids and remove them from this untenable lunacy! The choice is always the same: do you prefer to crawl on all fours, rolling around in mud; or choose civilized achievement?