Stars: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, Missi Pyle, Steve Zahn, Ann Dowd, Erin Moriarty.
Director: Matt Ross
Screenplay: Matt Ross
How do you advertise a film that doesn't fit into any real category? Do you sell it as a quirky Wes Anderson inspired offbeat family comedy, do you sell it as the next Little Miss Sunshine? It is a hard thing to do, so what did the studio end up with...A poster that looks like a cooky Anderson bit with the family next to a bus on the side of the road. So a mashup I see.
Because of this I didn't really get the urge to find the time to see it. It was trying to sell to me something that is a bit dated. But luckily I did take the time to watch this because even if it does have the family road trip take, it is made from its own journey.
The film centres around a Chomsky inspired family that live out in the woods, train in the morning—which can entail, hunting for deer, learning out to fight each other, or scaling a cliff face—,then sitting around the campfire doing their prescribed reading before jamming on the guitars. Ben (Viggo Mortensen) is the father to his many kids that he teaches not only how to survive in the wilderness, but also home schools them about the outside world. The only issue is that that is really the only access his kids get to the outside world. Ben his wife want to make sure that their kids grow up learning what is actually important and away from the entrapment of capitalism.
With sad news that their mother committed suicide while she was away at hospital seeking treatment for her bipolar, they pack up into their bus and travel to New Mexico to attend her funeral and try to convince her family that her wishes be respected in regards to her burial.
This film is simply about any kids relationship to their parents. No matter how you are raised you are still going to want to find your own way and blame your parents about how they raised you; this film just has a slightly more eccentric way of telling it. There are many times that this film could rely on the cringe factor of how awkward this family unit is in comparison to everyone else but it rests just nicely by never crossing that line. It takes a more realistic approach where social norms are tested but represented in simply showing that people live different types of lives.
This is not a Wes Anderson, and this is definitely not the new Little Miss Sunshine. Ross has found his own niche within the eccentric family comedy drama with a family that is so interesting to follow.