Oscars Preview: 30 Movies to Watch Before the Nominations Come Out!

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Captain Fantastic, Image via Electric City Entertainment and Bleecker Street

Captain Fantastic

What it’s About

Ben Cash lives with his wife Leslie and their six children in the wilderness of Washington. Long ago, Ben and Leslie became disillusioned with modern society, particularly with consumerism and technology. Rather than raise their children in an environment they didn’t agree with, they set out to build a self-sustaining survivalist homestead in the woods. But when Leslie is hospitalized and ultimately dies, her parents forbid Ben to come to the funeral. Ben defies their commands and rallies his kids to take them out into the “real world” for the first time. Throughout the journey, he faces grief for his own loss, antagonism from his in-laws, and bitterness from his children as they learn what they’ve been missing out on.

Major Players:

Matt Ross, who is also an actor, is the writer/director of Captain Fantastic. Viggo Mortensen, who was nominated for Best Actor for Eastern Promises in 2008, plays Ben Cash. Kathryn Hahn plays Ben’s sister Harper, and Ben’s brood is portrayed by a host of talented young actors, including up-and-comers George MacKay, Annalise Basso, and Samantha Isler.

What the Critics are Saying:

The quirky dramedy has been getting a lot of buzz for its handling of sensitive emotional material, but particularly for Viggo Mortensen’s performance. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calls him “…just magnificent: his performance standing with his career-best work.” Meanwhile, Brian Moylan of The Guardian claims that Mortensen “steals the show.” IndieWire’s Zack Sharf describes the film as “Part Little Miss Sunshine, part Swiss Family Robinson,” and Helen O’Hara of Empire writes that the film is “a fiercely original, pleasantly unpredictable character piece.”

Possible Nominations:

Best Original Screenplay (Ross), Leading Actor (Mortensen)