Captain Fantastic

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12 months ago added
Captain Fantastic
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IMDb: 7.8
In the mountainous wilderness of Washington, Ben Cash lives with his six children: Bodevan, Rellian, Kielyr, Vespyr, Zaja and Nai. The children's names were made up by their parents so they could be unique, and nobody else in the world has them. They have no contact with society, it's just them coexisting with nature - their mother used to live with them, too, but she had to be hospitalized because of her bipolar disorder. Ben raises his children to be self-reliant and not to depend on technology or the American system, which he loathes. He teaches them how to hunt, identify plants, purify their own water and cook what they catch and sow. They keep a rigorous training regime to stay physically fit and athletic, and this includes learning how to use weapons and defend themselves. Ben also teaches them how to think critically, giving them advanced texts to read and testing them on them every day, passing onto them his and his wife's left-wing anarchist ideals that made them leave society behind in the first place. No matter how gruesome or complicated their questions are, Ben doesn't keep anything from his children, not even the youngest ones, and explains concepts like death and abuse to them without sparing any details. When Bodevan catches his first deer on his own, Ben puts some animal blood on his forehead and makes him eat one of the animal's organs as he declares that he's finally become a man. Later in the evening, after reading around the fire, the family takes out their instruments and plays some happy tunes while dancing. The following day, Ben and Bodevan drive their bus to town, where Bodevan has trouble interacting with girls his age. While Ben sells some of the stuff he crafts, Bodevan checks their PO box. There, he finds a bunch of letters from the universities he's been applying to in secret, and he's surprised to find he's been accepted into all of them. Ben goes to a bar to call his sister Harper, asking for news about his wife, and Harper can only cry while she informs him last night, Leslie died by her own hand. After they return to the forest, Ben spends some moments under a waterfall, mourning the love of his life, before returning to his kids to give them the news, promising them nothing will change as they all start crying too. Enraged by grief, Rellian takes a knife as he curses and almost stabs his father with it, but he stops himself before doing anything drastic and begins stabbing the wall instead, cursing and telling Ben he hates him. That night, Ben looks through their old paperwork to find Leslie's will. The following morning, the kids are still put through the usual training routine, but they want to know about their mother's funeral. Ben goes back to town to call his father-in-law Jack, who has never approved of their lifestyle and now threatens Ben with arresting him if he shows up at Leslie's funeral, showing no care for her last wish to be cremated and not buried. Leslie's mother Abigail picks up the phone next, telling Ben the funeral will be in five days in their church in New Mexico but she doesn't think it's a good idea for him to come either. The kids aren't happy to hear this, but Ben reminds them that his getting arrested could mean losing custody of them. After spending the entire night dreaming of Leslie, Ben wakes up to find his kids dressed up and ready to go rescue their mother, so he reminds them again it's impossible and sends them to train. Today, they're rock climbing, during which Rellian slips and hurts his hand. Instead of helping him or comforting him though, Ben guides him to withstand the pain and keep going, reminding him there will be times he'll have nobody to help and he needs to know how to survive on those occasions. Once training is over, Ben notices the kids' mood is really low, so he decides they'll be going to the funeral after all. They spend long hours on the road, only parking to sleep, or stopping by the bank to withdraw some money. On their second day of traveling, they're stopped by the police, who checks Ben's license and registration, then enters the bus when he notices the kids aren't at school and there is a bunch of books around. To scare him off, Bodevan explains they're homeschooled under the eyes of god and together with his siblings they begin singing a Christian song. This is enough for the cop to leave them alone. After many hours of traveling, they stop near a flock of sheep, but the kids don't dare shoot them because they're just standing there. Since they're hungry, they go to a diner, and the siblings get excited about possibly trying out some foods they never had before, like hotdogs, pancakes, and cola, which Ben calls poison water. Seeing as there isn't any real food on the menu, Ben takes the kids away without ordering and they go to a supermarket instead. There, Ben pretends to have a heart attack and while everyone at the market is busy checking on him, his kids steal some food and run out of the place without being noticed. Only one of them stays behind to give Ben a fake pill that he takes to pretend to feel better so he can leave as well. Afterward, they go to a nearby park to eat what they stole, and Ben reveals a cake because they'll be celebrating in advance Noam Chomsky Day, a holiday they made up after the famous philosopher. Ben has brought weapons for everyone as gifts, but Rellian isn't happy - he wishes they could celebrate Christmas like normal people. His father asks him to present a case and make a good argument, but Rellian isn't in the mood for it and just returns to the bus. Their traveling eventually takes them to Ben's sister's house. Harper lives with her husband Dave and their sons Justin and Jackson, who make fun of the siblings for not knowing famous brands. Things get awkward over dinner because Ben doesn't hold back when it comes to sensitive topics and explains everything in detail, which Harper and Dave don't want their kids to listen to. They go outside and argue about it, so Ben apologizes for not respecting the way things are done in her home. Then the kids come out too because they'll be sleeping in the garden, ignoring the fact Harper prepared the rec room for them. The following morning, Harper and Dave confront Ben and tell him the kids need to go to school and learn about the real world, to which Ben responds by calling her boys and Zaja over. Harper's sons can't answer what the Bill of Rights is, but Zaja can, proving the education they're getting from him is just fine. Shortly after, they go back to the road, and after a bunch of hours traveling, this time they take a break at a motorhome camping site. There, Bodevan meets a girl his age called Claire, who thinks he's a little weird but enjoys talking to him anyway. Bodevan tells him they're from Paris, that his dad is writing a book, and his mom works on some classified stuff for the government; but he fails to understand many cultural references she makes. They still end up making out, which blows Bodevan's mind, and when Claire's mother finds them, he gets on his knees and asks for Claire's hand in marriage after giving a touching speech about how she opened his mind and his horizons. The two women laugh, thinking he's joking, and return to their own van. The next day, Bodevan won't stop looking at her through the window while they leave. After such a long trip, they finally make it to New Mexico, so they park the bus on the church's parking lot and sleep there for the night, where Ben dreams of Leslie again. The following morning, the family puts on the best clothes they have and enter the church in the middle of the funeral mass, earning bad looks from Leslie's parents, Jack and Abigail. When the priest reaches the part of his speech where he names Leslie's husband and kids, Ben takes the chance to interrupt him and give a speech of his own. He tells everyone that Leslie was Buddhist and hated organized religion, so she would be hating this farewell, and that on her will, she asks to be cremated while her loved ones celebrate life with song and dance, then her ashes should be thrown down the toilet. Jack can't stand this so he calls security to drag Ben out, and the kids leave with him. Once the mass is over, Jack and Abigail come over to say hello to the kids, but Jack tells Ben he's the worst thing that's happened to his family and that he can't come to the funeral, but the kids can. Ben refuses, not wanting anyone to take the kids from him, but he does get on the bus with them to follow the cars in order to stop them from burying his wife. The kids beg him not to do that because it'll get him arrested and they don't want to lose him like they lost their mother, so Ben gives in and drives away so they can camp at a park. In the evening, while fooling around, Rellian tells Bodevan that he thinks Ben made their mother crazy and that he's dangerous, he also starts crying as he calls out his brother for thinking that their lives are good and their father is perfect. This gives Bodevan a lot to think about, so he finally makes up his mind and shows Ben all the university acceptance letters. They aren't just any university either: Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth, MIT, Brown - all of them very prestigious names. Ben thinks it's impressive but he's also hurt, and he starts ranting about the fact his son has been lying to him and acting behind his back all this time until Bodevan interrupts him to tell him it was his mom that helped him apply in the first place. Crying, Bodevan tells him he actually doesn't know anything about anything unless it comes from a book, that Ben made them all freaks, and that Leslie understood that; then leaves before Ben can answer. Nai comes out next and gives Ben a note from Rellian that says he's staying with his grandparents. Ben takes the bus with the kids and goes to Jack's house to get Rellian back, but Rellian is angry and yells at him that he killed his mother, that he overheard them arguing because his mother wanted to live somewhere else and he didn't, and that he hated him. After he stomps out of the room, Ben tries going after him, but Jack stops by shooting an arrow near his head. He starts pointing out all the things he considers weird or dangerous about Rellian's state: he doesn't go to school, he was gifted a weapon on a made-up holiday, he stole food from a market, and he badly hurt his hand, not to mention the bruises in his body. Jack considers this child abuse and tells Ben they'll soon be fighting him in court over the custody of the children, but for now, Rellian stays there. Since Ben doesn't want to leave without his son, Jack calls the police, so Ben rushes out of the house before he gets caught. He still doesn't give up though. Hidden in the bushes, Ben and the children wait for the cops to leave, then he sends Vespyr to climb on the roofs to rescue her brother through a window. Before she makes it there though, one of the roof tiles breaks and she falls down, first on a car and then on the ground. Vespyr is rushed to the hospital, and after running some tests, the doctor tells Ben that she has a concussion but thankfully no brain damage, just a broken leg. He points out however, that if she had hit her spine a few millimeters lower, she could've died or gotten paralysis. While Vespyr recovers, the family stays at Jack's house, and Ben watches how his kids actually have a good time with their grandfather. Abigail takes the opportunity to give him some letters Leslie wrote before Ben asked her parents to get her treatment: they tell her mother that she doesn't need to pick her up anymore, because she and Ben had created the perfect place to live in, that her children would be philosopher-kings, and that all this made her very happy so she wants to get better there with them. Realizing he's made a mistake, Ben tells the children that from now on, they'll live with their grandparents. The kids protest, but Ben sticks to his decision, explaining that he would only ruin their lives. After asking Jack to take good care of them and shaking his hand, Ben leaves on the bus, crying. When he stops at a market for some food, he decides to also buy an electric razor and shave his beard to start this new phase in his life. The following night, while he's camping, he's found by his children, who are surprised by the lack of beard. Rellian tells him he doesn't actually hate him, he just wishes he had helped their mother, and Ben agrees before apologizing. After quoting Chomsky, they finally convince their father to rescue their mother, so the family makes their way to the cemetery on their bus, where Bodevan shaves his head to match his dad when it comes to marking a new phase in their lives. At the cemetery, they dig out their mother's casket and, after refilling the grave so nobody can tell is empty, they take Leslie to the beach, where after a touching speech, they cremate her while singing her favorite song, Sweet Child of Mine. Sometime later, they go to the airport to throw her ashes in the toilet as she wanted. Then they say their goodbyes to Bodevan, who is flying abroad to see the world. From then on, Ben and his kids start living in a little house in town. He still teaches them how to coexist with nature, but he also allows them to go to school, finding a perfect middle point between his ideologies and their well-being.
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