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Is the quest for utopia always a folly? It is hard to argue otherwise, considering the difficulty of convincing every member of a sufficiently large population to go along with the same grand unifying vision. But perhaps it can be achieved on a smaller scale, possibly with a family unit, as posited by Captain Fantastic. Viggo Mortensen plays the head of a brood living completely off the grid in the Pacific Northwest. He leads his six kids in rigorous physical and scholarly training, and for the most part they feel fulfilled.

When they must re-enter society for their mother’s funeral, their social shortcomings are brought into stark relief, but for all their eccentricities, they are more intellectually and emotionally capable than most of the people around them. They truly live up to their parents’ goal for them to be “philosopher-kings.” Eventually, compromises must be made to continue living alongside the rest of the world, and narratively speaking, they happen a little too quickly and cleanly. Captain Fantastic is a sort of utopian wish-fulfillment, but it is wish-fulfillment with conviction and a practical streak.

I give Captain Fantastic an 80% Satisfaction Rating on Noam Chomsky Day.

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