Parents' Guide to

Captain Fantastic

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Original, moving drama has some disturbing moments.

Movie R 2016 119 minutes
Captain Fantastic Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 22 parent reviews

age 18+

Take the blinders off

I started watching this movie thinking it was going to be lighthearted and funny. From the beginning they set a belief that these children are very educated using medical conversations and showing the multiple college acceptance letters. Then when on the bus, the girl is reading a book and is asked to tell about it. The book is a story of an old man that “is in love” with a child. The girl says that she was mad at the man but on the other hand she feels sorry for him and it’s sad because he is so in love with the child. THAT is a NOPE 1st strike for the common indoctrination hidden in movies. Then minutes later they are in the bank, the people are all fat and the young boy comments that they are fat. The dad says “ we don’t make fun of people” and the young girl replies “ accept Christians”. So they can have understanding and compassion for a child molester but make fun of Christians? And they apparently have read a vast amount of books that they believe the content of and recite but either haven’t read the Bible or have and through their vast intelligence have found it to be ridiculous enough to laugh at. That is when I turned it off. Sadly, this is one of many movies/shows that use this platform to open your mind to such ideas and close your mind to others. There are many conversations this wilderness family can talk about but this is what is chosen. It’s not done without consciousness. It’s deliberate.
age 16+

Excellent Film For Teens

This is one of my personal favorite films. It delves into a bluntly realistic, yet 'fantasical' way of life for a family that decideds to go against society. They live with nature far away from loud cities and businesses, and they are well-read people in a world full of followers. Here are somethings to keep in mind when deciding if this movie is suitable for your child to watch. The whole atmosphere of the movie is very mature; it talks extensively about death, major disfunction in a family, and mentions rape. There is also a scene where an animal is killed but it is purely for food and a very natural thing for people living without a grocery store which- side note- grocery stores get meat from killing animals without them getting a fighting chance and they never get to run free before hand. (Thats something to mention to you kids before they watch.) There is male frontal nudity in a non- sexual way and there is a BUNCH of explicit language because the parents in this film do not believe in over protecting their children from the less kid friendly things in life. But it is all done in such a responsible way that, unlike most movies, does not use this for shock factor. But as a way to openly discuss and come to grips with these subjects. It is a perfect film for a person who feels they do not belong in this modern world. And for a teen that needs to correctly be introduced to these subjects without the over glorification other films use. As a former homeschooler, I could deeply relate to these character's struggles (although I was not raised quite as radically as these kids!) Their struggle to stay unique and not sell out to society but still be able to live and get along with this 21st century world is something even non- homeschoolers can relate to. I hope you watch it and see the value in it like I do.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (22):
Kids say (10):

It's hard describe the beauty and genius of this very original, very moving film about mortality, family, and parenting. Captain Fantastic is such a different animal that it would be all too easy to dismiss it as overcomplicated and overwrought. Yet it's neither. It isn't afraid to push boundaries, to make viewers a little uncomfortable so they can immerse themselves in the world that Ben and his family create. And when the family ventures away from their idyll in the mountains, viewers can feel both the trepidation and excitement that engulf them. In short, we're fully invested in their outcomes.

Mortensen is tailor-made to play Ben, whom he paints as both stubborn and single-minded but also kind, loving and, yes, afraid. That Mortensen is able to communicate all this and more -- even as Ben puts his children through the paces -- with grace and compassion is masterful. He's met with equal confidence by MacKay, Hamilton, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Shree Crooks, and Charlie Shotwell, who play Ben's kids. So, too, by Frank Langella and Ann Dowd, who play his grieving in-laws. If there's a quibble, it's that the movie sometimes feels stuffed to the gills and sometimes oversimplifies the core parenting arguments at the center of its plot. But in the end, kudos to director Matt Ross, who guides his cast with a steady, controlled hand that allows the story to run free.

Movie Details

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