A Different Kind of Fantastic: Mr. Fox

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What does it feel like to be different?

Mr. Fox is a husband and father just like any of you dads out there. He wonders about who he is, what it means to be a fox, and how he can be happy. He struggles against the limitations and expectations placed on him by the world, his family, and himself. He craves the thrill of adventure and the spoils of success while trying to live in the tension of responsibility and providing for his family.

At the same time, his son Ash struggles with identity through the lens of being different. He acts differently, dresses differently, and has different talents from those of his peers and his parents. Yet as Ash innocently strives to fit in and be ‘normal’, he keeps coming up short.

Both father and son struggle to discover – and live inside – the truth about themselves. The reality of this struggle is that it requires a change that embraces difference. Reality must acknowledge that it is precisely the beautiful differences that will save us.

Wes Anderson has made a career exploring the oddities of life that make up individuals, families, and communities. Life Aquatic. The Royal Tenenbaums. Moonrise Kingdom. In Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson’s quirky narrative style translates beautifully to animation. Somehow, by extracting the core stuff of our humanity and bestowing it upon wild animals, I see myself and the tensions that make up my story more clearly in this film than any of his others.

We’re all different. Delving into the world of fox holes and chicken coops you will be delighted to discover that there is something truly fantastic about it.