Fatherhood on Netflix keeps it real with new-age parenting, dirty diapers, a baby that just doesn't sleep, a perfectly imperfect father-daughter relationship, and the struggles of a single working parent.
Directed by Paul Weitz, Fatherhood on Netflix is based on the bestselling book, 'Two Kisses For Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love' by Matthew Logelin. It's the real-life story of Matthew Logelin who lost his wife in 2008 and had to raise his daughter, Madeline by himself.
Cast - Fatherhood stars Kevin Hart in the lead who plays the role of a single father, Matt Logelin, who is not fully prepared for the birth of his child, like most to-be parents. How does one prepare for this anyway? Matt is part struggling, part nailing this parenting thing, and seems to be winging this, one day at a time. Melody Hurd as Maddy Logelin will win you over with her straight face while playing poker, her innocent insecurity of sharing her father with a new woman while craving for love from a mother figure. She doesn't shy away from standing her ground, like refusing to wear skirts because she finds them uncomfortable or wanting to spend more time with her grandparents.
Storyline - This movie traces Matt and Maddy's relationship over the first few years of her childhood and highlights the struggles of a single working parent who neither has the best support system nor a good role model to emulate. After the death of his wife, Liz, Matt is grappling with grief and has no idea how to raise a child by himself, and from the first ten minutes of the movie, it's established that Liz was most often the voice of reason in their relationship. After her death, Matt raises his child the way his wife would ideally have, including sending his child to the school Liz wanted her baby to go to. He teaches Maddy to be headstrong and gives her the space to make her own decisions in whatever capacity one allows a child to do so. This film then progresses into Matt dating and his worries about this relationship affecting his daughter and how much he's there for her.
Check out the trailer here!
What I loved - This movie talks about parenting in today's day and age where there is immense support, understanding, and leaving some room for the child to discover their authentic self. There's no glorified portrayal of parenting over the two hours of this film. Paul Weitz kept it real by showing us the imperfectly perfect way of parenting that is seen in moments like Matt struggling to introduce Swan to his daughter, working a full-time job and being a single parent, and not always acing either role. Fatherhood covers gender-based clothing and how messed up that concept is. I particularly love this scene where Matt shows up at a support group for parents when he recognizes that he needs help, but is told that "This is not AA. This is a group for new mothers." This scene covers race and gender-based prejudice and is handled so beautifully. It normalizes men seeking help and breaks away from the stereotype of men being too egoistic to ask for help. I love the last scene of the movie where Matt wears a skirt to drop his daughter off at school, while she's wearing pants. This is the kind of support every child should have.
What I didn't like - The film didn't give enough space to conversations around sexism and gender-based clothing, it almost felt like touch and go. Matt's friends were portrayed as stereotypical and obnoxious men who don't know what's the right thing to say. They didn't do anything for the movie other than being a poor attempt at comic relief.
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