There’s a scene where one of the daughters is asked to describe how she feels about Lolita. And she says it’s gross how this old man is taking advantage of this young girl, and raping her. And the story is told from his perspective, so she feels sympathy for him. But she hates him. 

That’s basically how I think we’re supposed to feel about Captain Fantastic. He’s robbing his children of their innocence, and stealing their childhoods. He’s a selfish man, running from his problems, and taking his kids along for the ride. 

But the film is told from his perspective. Ultimately, we feel sympathy for him. 

I see a lot of that sympathy in these reviews. I’m not sure the film takes it far enough for us to recognize that this man is a bad father. It does conceptually, but maybe Viggo Mortensen is charming we just can’t see it. Either way, at conveying this message, it’s a bit of a failure.

That’s a nitpick, really. The real problem I have with this movie is that its basic premise is so absurdly aggravating. The compromise that’s met at the end seems the most obvious solution to the film’s central problem. Why didn’t Captain Fantastic and the mom just do that from the beginning? It’s so obvious that I was wondering about it from scene one. 

Captain Fantastic is a film with many charms, but little merit.

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