It has always been our dream to buy a VW Campervan and drive off into the sunset. This is a film about a couple that forfil that dream on a bus named Steve. They have a large family and bring them up away from the trappings of the modern world and modern technology. They learn to hunt, climb and generally survive in the wild. They devour books as part of their learning and they all become extremely intelligent, with a great deal of knowledge.
The bubble bursts when they hear of their mothers death. She had struggled with Bi-Polar disorder all her life and finally succumbed by commiting suicide. The effect on the children is huge, made worse by the feud between their father and grandfather, their mothers father. He doesnt want their father at the funeral because he blames him for his daughters death.
This leads to a road trip to defy the Granfathers wishes and to make sure their mothers will and testament is carried out. The children who are extremely intelligent lack social skills. They have had very few interactions with the outside world. This is clearly portrayed in the scene where the oldest son Boudevan gets attention from a worldly and attractive girl. The result is a very funny, yet uncomfortable scene.
The father is very strong in his conviction that he has brought up his children in the right way. He battles to make his and his wife’s family understand, which is a fruitless task. By the end of the film we see the turmoil that experiencing modern life brings him and he soon questions the life they have led. There is lots of tears, anger and guilt, but it is clear that they have a strong family unit.
This is an extremely powerful film with plenty of emotion, humour, bereavement, anger, laughter and learning. It is the story of a man trying his best for the family and fighting convention, which in the most part makes for a very happy and rounded family. Viggo Mortenson plays the father in his best role to date. The emotion he brings to the film is brilliant and the scenes on his own are pure and really pull you in. Everyone plays their role brilliantly which makes this my favourite film of the year so far.
I think we would all love to ditch our clothes and run off into the wild, but we also need other people. We learn a great deal from others, particularly how to interract and socialise. We need a mix in life as well as a place to escape to.