Movie Review: CAPTAIN FANTASTIC – Viggo Mortenson’s beautifully nuanced performance isn’t the only great thing about this heartwarming family drama

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There’s a scene in Captain Fantastic towards the midpoint of the movie where Ben Cash (Viggo Mortenson) asks his daughter to explain what the book she’s reading is about.  The book is Nabokov’s Lolita, and when she begins, he cuts her off.  “That’s the plot,” he says, which forces her to go into greater depth in her explanation.  Why am I starting out with this?  Because this is a movie that is a great example of plot versus story.  It’s not unfair to look at every blockbuster over the last few decades and say that they’re not actually about anything.  You can daisy-chain their plot points together and they tell a rudimentary “this happened, then this happened” etc, but the stories themselves lack dimension.  Great movie stories are “about” something more than just what’s happening visually.  The best screen stories are those that can be about multiple topics revolving around a central hub.  This is what I felt while watching Matt Ross’s luminous movie.

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