For this week’s meeting of the Kanopy Movie Club we will discuss Captain Fantastic, a film about a family, their isolation, and growth that is both serious and sweet. Winner of the Directors prize at Cannes and starring Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic is a heartwarming and funny drama about a family in crisis that is an excellent reflection about the world around us.
In our extraordinary times, finding a place where you feel happy, healthy, and safe is of the utmost importance. While the story of the Cash family may be fantastic, the film’s core theme of looking for stability in uncertain times is one that resonates throughout the ages. All families have their quirks, and in times of crisis these idiosyncrasies often become very apparent. Like the families in other classic films like Little Miss Sunshine, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, or Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the Cash family is tasked with two difficult problems: how to fill the void left by the loss of a loved one and how to keep and strengthen family bonds during times of great change.
The Cash family lives in rural Washington in near complete isolation. While Ben and Leslie have raised their children to be self-reliant free thinkers, it is their separation from the outside world, extended family, and community which drives their story from beginning to end. When a family tragedy forces them to confront the customs and taboos of the outside world, the Cash family must adapt. While their values do not change, their relationship with the outside world must evolve so that they may survive.
This is an era where people are separated and isolated, often not by choice, where connection is rare and valuable. In our separate bubbles of class, political party, family, work, and neighborhood it is too easy to forget that there is far more that unites us than separates us, and that what matters most are our connections and relationships in trying times.
We aren’t all raising children in this complex and confusing world, but we all must negotiate the landscape of conflicting ideas and different ways of living that exist in the modern age. This may seem to be a Sisyphean task, but as Captain Fantastic demonstrates, the key to overcoming this obstacle is breaking out of your bubble and reaching out to those around you, friends and family alike.
Check out a trailer for Captain Fantastic below; you can use your Basalt Library card to watch the full film on Kanopy. Visit our website for more information about how to join the film discussion via Zoom on Friday, September 18th, at 2PM.
Please join us next week for a discussion of the rodeo film Bull. As always please send any comments or questions to me at Matthew.Cleer@Basaltlibrary.org.
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