Captain Fantastic | Review & Giveaway

What is the right way to raise a family? What makes a family functional or dysfunctional? How should children be educated? After observing the extremes of parenting and living some of this extremes himself, Director, and more known for acting, Matt Ross (AMERICAN HORROR STORY, SILICON VALLEY) came up with this wonderfully whimsical story for CAPTAIN FANTASTIC. Do not think this is a Marvel or DC movie. All the cast and crew are heroes but this is not a superhero movie. CAPTAIN FANTASTIC screened in cinemas earlier in 2016 but releases today, 21st December, for home entertainment in Australia from Entertainment One. And these fantastic peeps have given us 5x copies of the movie to giveaway on DVD. So stay tuned after the review to find out how to win.


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Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen), his wife Leslie (Trin Miller), and their six children live deep in the wilderness of Washington state. Ben and Leslie became disillusioned with capitalism and American life, and chose to instill survivalist skills and philosophy in their children. Isolated from society, Ben and Leslie devote their existence to raising their kids – educating them to think critically, training them to be physically fit and athletic, guiding them in the wild without technology and demonstrating the beauty of co-existing with nature.

In their created off-grid world they are an exceptional unit, it is isolated, it is regimented and it is bloody fun. It is a society and family unit I would kill to be a part of. The children’s education is better than the American school system and if it came to a world war survivalist society these kids would rule. However the real world is still there and when family disaster occurs the family needs to temporarily integrate back into  a world completely foreign to them. And while their 6yr old child can probably capture, kill and skin a grizzly bear none of them are prepared for a world they have no education for.


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CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is a bloody marvel of a movie. It is an incredibly thought provoking family study. How to raise one, what is considered good and bad? what is dysfunctional exactly? What kind of education should I child have? Is the education system itself right?

While right wing freaks would consider the Cash family hippy nutcases who should be put down, if it came to it, the Cash family would be the stronger people. I myself, if I heard about them on the radio, would consider them a cultist family, but once I have seen how they live I would exchange everything in my life to live as part of that family.

The children are book knowledgeable beyond belief and can fend for themselves. They operate as a well oiled unit with Marxist philosophy. To people raised in a large society they would appear as crackpot eccentrics. In the real world these children would be taken from the family and put in the system. The very system Ben Cash loathes.

The problem faced with their momentary integration is that the kids have now tasted and seen the temptation of capitalism. To Cash soda is poison water, to half a dozen young youths it is something new to try and explore. Once this seed at wanting to experience it all is sown it is hard to turn back. Something that will truly rock Ben Cash’s existence.


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While the concept and story for CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is impressive the cast is what makes this movie so exceptional. I was just blown away by these performances. All the children are just superb. George Mackay is one of my favourite youth actors of the now. His performances in this, PRIDE, THE OUTCAST and SUNSHINE ON LEITH have cemented him as talent who doesn’t follow the mainstream. Cute Aussie kid Nicholas Hamilton is a pain in the ass tormented and confused teenage dick in this as Rellian but his performance is notable. I loved him in STRANGERLAND and that and his performance in CAPTAIN FANTASTIC have shot him to Hollywood A game. He has THE DARK TOWER and IT in post production, Expect to see a lot more of him.

Another special mention has to go to youngster Shree Crooks, as Zaja. She can’t be more than six or seven in this and she nails it. Her glee at getting a hunting knife for a present was a true highlight.

And, of course, the highlight of the entire movie is Viggo Mortensen, the guy is a phenomenon. His portrayal as Ben Cash is one of the best performances of 2016. An arrogant flawed man, an impatient and determined man with heavy beliefs. The brilliance is in his flaws. Is he right in his beliefs? To me 100% yes, but hiding from society and breeding children better than society can never be enough. Beliefs and education are one thing, but educating your children to survive in the real world is just as important. Seeing Cash realise he may have spent a great part of his life raising children incorrectly is a powerful and painful moment.


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CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is one of the best movies of 2016. It is hysterical, beautifully performed, visually stunning, intelligent and thought provoking. You can’t ask for more than that from a movie.


4 and a Half Pops



With special thanks to Entertainment One to win one of the five DVDs of CAPTAIN FANTASTIC you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage). Further to this you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following question/s:

What is your favourite dysfunctional family movie and WHY? easy peasy answer for me – STAR WARS – those Skywalkers are freaking certifiable 🙂 Haha


If you do not have social media then you can still enter, leave your entry below in the comments and then email me at telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

This is a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges. 

The prizes will be drawn on or after January 1st so enter this one quick. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this  is only available to Australian residents.




 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.


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