In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
Ben and Leslie Cash have long lived largely off the grid with their offspring - Bodevan, Kielyr, Vespyr, Rellian, Zaja and Nai - in a cabin in the mountains of Washington state. The parents have passed their ideals to their children, namely socialism (in its various forms) and survivalism. With the former, Ben considers most of western society as being fascist, especially corporate America. With the latter, he figures that no one will or should be there for you, so you better learn how to take care of yourself in all its aspects. As such, the children have been subject to vigorous physical training, know how to deal with minor bumps, bruises, cuts, sprains and even fractures, and know how to hunt, forage and grow their own food. The children are also non-registered home schooled, meaning that they have no official academic records. Ben and Leslie have tried to make the children critical thinkers, however within the context of their ideals. Beyond these issues, Ben and Leslie made the ... Written by
I felt that this film was captivating in all aspects of story-telling. Especially in it's acting where all characters in the film did a superb job with special mention to Viggo Mortensen (Ben - Father) and George Mackay (Bo - Eldest Son). This film depicts the difficulty of parenting at the highest level as Ben has to raise his 6 children in the wilderness alone in the way he thinks will be best for them. Bo shows the rational side of this story as he accepts who he is, how he was raised, and who he wants to become in the future. We clearly see the struggle of a young man who will take care of his siblings yet long for a life he has never known. This was my first time seeing George MacKay on the big screen with a big part and he certainly did not disappoint. His performance along with Viggo Mortensen was the perfect balance for the film.
The realness and rawness of this film aligns perfectly with Ben's choice in parenting and survival instincts in the wilderness. We are easily immersed into the idea that civilization and it's systems of government are toxic and that we as a people who take part in it are living the wrong life. A film that can manipulate at such a high degree is a great example of a film with a genius plot.
The cinematography was beautiful as to be expected. Our setting for most of the film is in the Pacific Northwest and it was a pleasure to see that they didn't saturate the screen with wide aerial shots of the forest and mountains throughout the film. Instead they focused more on the home within the mountains. Details highlighting living spaces indoors and outdoors was a beautiful contrast to the another setting later in the film. Kielyr "This house is a vulgar display of wealth" Vespy "and an unethical use of space!". I believe the cinematographer & director chose not to concentrate on details of the luxurious house as they did with the home in the forest. Mostly shot on wides to display its enormity and that was all that was needed.
The soundtrack I felt fit perfectly with the film. Times of quiet were also used very well here. The editing was seamless and kept the story moving perfectly.
I take my hat off to Matt Ross for a genius script that focuses on ideas of socialism, the complexities of human relationships, and coming of age story. With his role as director, he was able to execute the overall emotional effect of the viewer with the film's well balanced blend of comedy and pathos.
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