Captain Fantastic, out in UK cinemas yesterday, is this year’s Little Miss Sunshine: an indie film with a good shot at some Oscar glory, with a road trip at its heart and a theme of societal outcasts determined to do their own thing against the odds. The difference is, it’s a little less overtly feelgood – though very funny in places – and a little more morally ambiguous.
It’s hard to imagine anyone else inhabiting the central role but Viggo Mortensen: he plays an old-school leftie who’d rather celebrate Noam Chomsky Day than capitalist Christmas, and brings his six kids up in the woods. They climb cliffs and hunt deer, but also devour enormous books around the campfire. The only cloud on the horizon is the suspicion that Mortensen, who rejects control, is himself rather controlling; and the cloud turns to full-on rain when a road trip introduces the children to society and modern life for which they are singularly ill prepared.
I won’t say more, so as not to spoil the plot, but this is one of my favourite films of the year so far, and it was a pleasure to put together a campaign for it for Guardian Labs.
My personal highlights were sending Karen Krizanovich off to fulfil a long-held dream of living on a commune (Cae Mabon in Snowdonia – amazing place), and getting Ray Mears to contribute survival tips. But there’s also lots of stuff about the film and about living off-grid. Check it out at https://www.theguardian.com/captain-fantastic-film.