Captain Fantastic is the movie I wish I had written. Plain and simple.

Matt Ross’ film may just be my favorite of awards season. It was smart, funny, sad, and entirely original without being, you know… weird. (Although it is beautifully offbeat, and takes a couple liberties that, I suspect, wouldn’t have made the final cut of a big-budget studio picture.)

Set around a family who is raised unconventionally, at multiple points in the film, I found myself saying, “Hmm. I definitely want to raise my kids like that.” And although they are raised to survive completely in the wild, formulate their own world views and “stick it to the man,” I’m guessing there’s a small part of anyone who has seen this film that thinks the same thing.

The acting was phenomenal. I’m so happy Viggo Mortensen got an Oscar nod for it; however, I can’t mention him without mentioning the stellar job done by all six actors who play his children. (Oh and, spoiler, Viggo goes full frontal.)

The cinematography was gorgeous, with sweeping landscapes of Washington and New Mexico. The usage of [seemingly] natural light was done brilliantly, and paired with wardrobe and set design beautifully.

The music is perfectly-chosen – from Scotland the Braver as the family charges to “save mom,” to Sweet Child o’ Mine sung by the family themselves, to I Shall Be Released as we near the end.

And the themes: commitment, family, love, communication, education, questioning convention, questioning one’s self… I could go on and on. (How far is too far when it comes to doing what you believe in?)

I don’t remember a time when I laughed and cried so hard simultaneously. It’s a film that ultimately may provide more questions than answers – and that’s what we should love about it.

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