Captain Fantastic (2016)
January 1, 2017 9:25 AM - Subscribe

In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.
posted by ellieBOA (2 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I had big emotions about this movie and I did not like them. Partly this is because I was trying to distract myself from my mother's sudden hospitalization when I saw it. She was fine - she was going to be fine, they just wanted to keep her overnight, she said y'all go on and see a movie - but it was a very poor choice for someone whose mom is not okay.

The ending was upsetting and implausible. First of all, those kids needed their grandfather. Second of all, do you know how hard it is to dig up a body in a modern American cemetery? And to burn one? It is an art and a science to reduce a body to cremains. Were those kids emotionally up to the task of pulverizing their mother's bones and poking her viscera back into the fire? I doubt it. Finally: what is Namibia going to do with one more well-meaning white kid on his personal journey?

Thank you for posting this. I needed to talk, apparently.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:59 AM on January 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

I agree with you Countess Elena. I didn't mind the movie until the last 15 minutes really, but then it lost all my goodwill. Until the hospital scene, I found it interesting to think about the parallels between the autocratic father and son-in-law, and the ways that children work with and rebel against complicated parents. I thought it was doing an ok job at straddling the line between holding the father up as a hero and making him out as a villain -- a balance that the children would have struck eventually as they grew more self-aware. Minor problems in plot holes and belief suspension, but I was with them until, apparently, the grandfather does not bother to swoop into the hospital to get the son-in-law arrested for abuse even though he has already threatened to do so, is totally aware of the son-in-law's irresponsibility, and his granddaughter cracked her skull on his own driveway. What? Dumb dumb dumb. And then the grandfather doesn't call the cops when the kids disappear? And no one calls the cops when the grave is found disturbed? And no one calls the cops when a body on a pyre is spotted along the Pacific coast, or a chimney of smoke? Again, along the Pacific coast, where people are all around and forest fires are a huge issue... And then, yeah, converting a body into a tidy bag of ash... And then finally, a homely family scene at the end with no (appropriately) pissed off grandfather around... To me, the ending was upsetting not just because it was implausible, but because it's so insulting. It treats the audience like saps, giving a parody of a hallmark ending where a more complicated but nuanced one would have been in line with the rest of the movie. Even Disney movies aren't that imbalanced. It's like the story had 2 script-writers who weren't talking to each other. And have never been to California. Geez, the burning of a body on the coast with no intervention really bothered me I guess.
posted by dness2 at 5:34 PM on January 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

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