Director Matt Ross has created a film that will be loved and hated, critiqued for its direct use of social commentary yet praised for trying something “out of the mold:”. His selection of mostly unknown yet promising up and coming actors means that Viggo Mortensen’s role highlights his acting prowess, and he does one of his best roles yet. The rest of the cast doesn’t disappoint, with child and teen actors that might’ve been helped with such a daunting role for their career futures. The setting, endearing and captivating, expresses the direct connection between nature and peace, tranquility; yet ultimately tells audiences of an imaginary and impossible dream that the main character lives in and in which he refuses to recognize the society around him. For the most part, the film has great composition and camerawork, exemplifying the dissonance between a family that behaves almost like a cult, awkwardly confronting the established norm. It is an interesting experiment on what would happen if someone decided to live a life like the one represented in the movie, and questions what is “normal” and what path should be taken by every individual, commenting on consumerism, society, obesity, and education. Even so, Ross decides to end his film on a less idealistic note, bringing his character to the stark realization that human beings cannot forgo the civilization they have forged through the years, symbolically represented by Mortensen’s beard and the moment he decides he must shave it.