Ben has been raising his six children in the forest with a very different approach of a physical and intellectual education. All of that is about to be tested when they must step away from the forest they call home and enter the real world.
Ben and his wife Leslie had decided to raise their children in a different way and had been off the grid for quite a long time, they are home schooled but not registered so don’t have any actual registered qualifications. This therefore makes it even more interesting that Ben is educating his children in the way he thinks is best to save them from the hurt of cooperate America.
The thing is though that he his blinded by not realising his methods were limiting his children to certain situations and denying them of a childhood, growing up and interacting with others in more normal situations. This is shown when they are put in the real world especially with their cousins who appear to all be from a totally different universe.
I guess the main reason to be watching this film is for Viggo Mortensen’s performance which will not disappoint you in all honesty as he is outstanding, a long shot to win the actor in a leading role Oscar but good that he has been nominated. As considering I had to wait for the film to be released on Blu Ray/DVD to be able to catch it due to a rather limited release shows that in the UK at least it was not very well marketed. I rushed to get it on Blu Ray after the Oscar nominations were announced, it is by no means perfect but has some very good performances and interesting ideas.
George MacKay being one of them, I have enjoyed seeing how his career has progressed quite quickly over the past few years. He works very well with Mortensen in this one as the oldest of the children and shows good development throughout.
The story helps to raise the question of school and if you can still learn the same things from the way Ben has decided is best. The only problem is you cannot actually learn everything you need in life out of reading books, you have to experience different interactions with other people. Showing that you must have a good balance with everything to have the best possible life, taking certain things away for protection is never going to work in the long run. Neither is being brutally honest with rather young children they are going to become rather cynical very quickly.
I am a little bit on the fence to whether I actually liked the film or not, as I feel it had more problems than I expected. The story is a little too off the wall for it to be believable at all and too many moments are just wrong for bringing up children especially when putting them in physical danger or harm. Which at times makes for rather tricky viewing, I guess in the end I was pretty surprised that Viggo picked up the nomination. Happy for him and it was a great performance but I can think of many other films he has outshone this one. Maybe it is more than he took a risk with it and really drove the film? I am still unsure. Thoughts on this film? Didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it either.