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I have just finished watching the movie Fatherhood on Netflix and right from the start let me tell you that I am not a Kevin Hart fan, in fact I put this movie on 3 days ago and turned it off after the first scene when I noticed it was Kevin Hart laying on the bed. But Saturday movie night and my wife suggests “lets watch this new movie Fatherhood”(eyes roll)
Fatherhood is based on the heartbreaking true story of Matthew Logelin and is based on a memoir of love “two kisses for Maddy”
The film starts with the death of Matthew Logelin’s wife, Matthew played by my favourite actor Kevin Hart. Matthew has just lost his wife we soon come to learn that the death of his wife happens shortly after the birth of their daughter suffering a pulmonary embolism. Dealing with this tragedy alone would be difficult but with the added responsibility of a new born baby, you have all the makings of a story going off the rails quickly. Fortunately for Matthew it seems that his mother and mother in law (no matter how annoying they can be) are on hand to give the grieving husband and struggling new father a lifeline in those first few difficult months.
At this point let me interject a few points here 1: let me go ahead and say that this movie plays into all the negative stereotypes of men and being a father or indeed a single father, Matthew is often told he can’t do it, shouldn’t do it and one scene in particular when he walks into a parenting group and is told that it just for women, as a father and a dad blogger these are all the things that I hear from men all over the world, men who get in touch with me and share with me their lived experiences of being a dad.. for my money most of the time parenting done properly requires a mother and father. And I say most of the time because of course I am aware that same sex couples do have children but the same applies it requires two parents equally.
And secondly, doing some reading on this film shortly after I watched it, all the noise I was hearing from other bloggers and reviewers was all about the fact that Matthew Logelin was being played by a black man, I mean.. I’m not really sure how that is relevant to the story? This film is about the message and is relevant to every man in every corner of the planet black or white! Can people not relate to this story because it was played by a black American man? Hamilton the biggest and soon the be the most successful musical of all time is a story of white American men and is played by Black and Puerto Rican men and women, and they rap! Would that musical be better with an all white cast? It would arguably be worse, so why does it matter.
Anyway I digress, back to the movie review
Shortly after the funeral Matthews mother in law pitches the idea of Maddy (the new baby) being raised by them in Minnesota rather than with Matthew in Boston, not being from the states I had to Google the distance between Boston and Minissota and its a 22 hour drive! If my mother in law suggested my son was to move a 22 hour drive from me she would get much shorter shrift than our mate Matty gave her in this movie.
There is a really touching scene with Matthews father in law, in which he gives him some advice about bringing up kids – “let go, look as a parent we do all this shit trying to make things perfect, but we don’t have any control, we just have to accept that fact” what a perfect way to sum it up and its something I talk about a lot and have written about in my blog ,nobody is perfect.
Going back to work Matthew is given some flexible time by his boss who starts with the negative stereotypes of a man not being able to raise a child, he says a man can’t raise a child because we don’t have “patience, emotional vunerability and…. breasts” I can assure you men have breasts sir.
One of the real positives of this movie is Matthews friend Jordan (played by Lil Rel Howery – he is very witty and the timing of his quips are fantastic throughout )
We are then given a whistle stop tour of the first year of parenting, dirty nappies, vomit, feeding, the crying..oh the crying.. it never stops.. Matthew is introduced to the parent sanity saving device of white noise… apparently it replicates the sounds the baby hears in the womb so comforts the child.. incredible really. And putting down a stroller, as simple as this sounds both me and my wife both couldn’t figure it out at first, it’s not easy.
The story really highlights the brotherhood and bond between men, Matthews friends are extremely supportive of him, it reminds us that real brotherhood is unbreakable and your real brothers will always be there to have your back.
Matthew goes to a new parent support group , when he walks into the room they assume he is there for an AA meeting, he is initially turned away and is told that its a group for mothers – Matthew reminds them that it is a group for parents and that men are parents too.
One of the things that the movie misses that the book shares is that the pregnancy wasn’t easy and Liz spent several weeks in and out of hospital, in the movie the day before and just after the birth Liz looks incredible! In fact a little too good for a woman who has just given birth and is about to die.
One of the saddest scenes in this movie is when Maddy has a sleep over at her friends house, during bed time Maddy watches her friend be put to be by her mother and the warmth and love shown to her friend doesn’t go un noticed by Maddy and she looks really saddened by what she see’s.. This reminds me of my childhood and watching my friends interact with their fathers, I think they capture the emotion in this scene remarkably well.
For me this is one of Kevin Harts best movies, he doesn’t over act it he’s not telling a joke every two seconds and you can feel the bond he has with his daughter Maddy, you also get to see the strife and mental torture he goes through when deciding to move on and introduce a new partner to your child, this can never be easy especially when one parent has tragically passed, I think the film does a really good job of showing the mental ups and downs Matthew was going through during this period. Some people rush to introduce new partners to their children which is in my mind extremely selfish as a large percentage of these relationships don’t last.
The only part of this film I really disliked was when he decides to leave Maddy with his mother in law, watching and reading scenarios like this I can only put myself in the shoes of a father and there is no situation I could imagine that I would willing to allow my boy to go and live with someone else, Matthew wasn’t really struggling, he had a good job looking at his house , earning good money, yes she doesn’t have family around her but surely when you’ve lost your mother having your father around has to be the number one priority.
This is a warm, heartfelt story of a father trying his very best to bring up his daughter in a world that tells him he can’t do it as good as a women. Like I have mentioned before since starting Nobody Cares About Dad this is the narrative I hear all over the world, guys we have to continue to be good role models to our children, be emotional, be vulnerable and be involved, together we can normalise this story not demonise.
I would definitely recommend giving it a watch 4 out of 5 stars for me