Captain Fantastic is built around a simple enough plot about a family living in the Pacific Northwest. The parents have chosen to homeschool their six children in isolation, including distance from extended family.

But the layers of their existence come apart quickly when the children’s mother becomes ill and passes away. Their father, played by Viggo Mortensen, is determined to live up to the commitment to raise their children with a rigorous physical and classic education. He calls himself Captain Fantastic, and he fits the title in an extreme sense. His in-laws, however, disagree with his philosophy.

The children, ranging in age from 7 to 18, are beautiful and endearing. They play music together, and their cultural hero is Noam Chomsky.

This all makes for a tale of extreme stereotypes but is worth a watch as it provides a critique of present-day education, food, media, and religion. The themes are deep but the movie itself is entertaining and light. Rated R for language and brief nudity. (Universal)

About the Author

Jenny de Groot is a teacher/librarian in Langley, British Columbia.