Directed by: #PaulWeitz
“A father brings up his daughter as a single dad after the unexpected death of his wife who died a day after the child’s birth.”
Based on Matt Logelin’s memoir ‘Two Kisses For Maddy: A Memoir Of Loss & Love,’ Fatherhood passes heavy emotions onto its viewers; a (close to) Father’s Day release that you may or may not want to watch with your father due to its content being skilled at pulling on the heartstrings. It deals with a subject that isn’t seen much in mainstream cinema as a father (Kevin Hart) deals with the sudden death of his wife (Deborah Ayorinde) after she gave birth to their first child. Hart’s character, Matt, is immediately stunned by the news of his wife of course, as well as the realisation that he might not be ‘mature’ enough to raise his daughter without her present. The film follows a hopeful father-daughter bond as they grow and organise their future together instead of dwelling so harshly on the past.
Going into Fatherhood I was fairly excited to see what Kevin Hart could bring to a story that relies on emotional impact yet, to be completely honest, I was also quite worried that I would end up being disappointed. Matt is a very different role for Hart to take on – the character has his quick flares of hilarity but not in the way film watchers have seen Hart tackle before. Overall, he gives an incredible performance, really hitting the mark for transferable and in some cases relatable output of emotion. The range within his acting abilities are evident in Fatherhood and watching him excel in a role that would be classed as the opposite of his usual approaches to film is rather refreshing.
The story unfolds in a predictable sense, however the layout of the plot is easily accessible as a result of this predictability so because of the amount of emotional weight the audience carries along with the characters, maybe this comfortable predictability and rhythm can act as a soft pillow to break the fall of intensity. The nature of the character dynamics in themselves can bring a tear to your eye without a shadow of doubt regardless, meaning that the expected outcomes are not a negative trait at all.
From my perspective, the one downfall Fatherhood carries is its writing. From the beginning, the writing lacks any punch to keep you watching despite the story having an immense amount of intrigue attached to it; the dialogue is extremely bland and hard to follow because of how graceless each line reveals itself. As the film progresses this element does improve to a certain extent but unfortunately still remains rather dull. In other words, the fluidity of the film’s content improves as time passes, however the included content itself remains underdeveloped.
Fatherhood was a good choice for Netflix to release towards Father’s Day with its obviously appropriate story and, most importantly, the fact that many families across the globe can connect with the film and the kind of turmoil that occurs. Although the film isn’t necessarily something bright and new with experimental techniques in production, it also isn’t something entirely forgettable either. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. Kevin Hart stated in an interview that Fatherhood is an opportunity to change the negative stereotypes of black fathers which should definitely encourage you to watch the film.