The film opens with Matt speaking at his wife’s funeral. She died shortly after giving birth to their first child. We follow Matt and his daughter Maddy as they struggle in a single parent life. Inspired by a true story told in the book “Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love”, “Fatherhood” is an earnest and funny telling of a difficult story. I think I would call it a Comedic Drama. There’s lots of jokes throughout, but the focus really is on the dense story. As a Father, that hopes to never be a single parent, I believe the filmmakers have done a great job of capturing the feeling of responsibility and love of Fatherhood. There is a line in the trailer from Matt about raising his daughter “You’r right, I can’t do it, but you know what? I’m gonna do it, because I’m her Father”. That’s the line that convinced me to watch this one and I wasn’t disappointed.
The comedy is pretty strong with only a couple jokes that don’t land. I think the trailer does a good job letting you know what kind of comedy to expect. If you take “About a Boy” and add a big dollop of Kevin Hart, you get the humour of “Fatherhood”. Kevin Hart does a great job of balancing his role as both the main comedic character and the dramatic driver of the story. Melody Hurd also does a great job playing the daughter Maddy. She delivers a varied and emotional performance. The rest of the characters are portrayed well though they have a lot less depth than our main two.
Bullying and retaliation play an important, though small, story role and of course a woman dies. There is some sexual content, mostly jokes, and a little nudity. This sexual content along with pretty significant coarse language is what makes “Fatherhood” not a family film. I was surprised by the amount of swearing that, to me, mostly felt out of place.
“Fatherhood” is a heartfelt telling of a difficult story kept from being too heavy by lots of laughs. I give it an 8/10. It’s worth watching, but after the kids have gone to bed.
Two Kisses for Maddy book: https://amzn.to/3wbAg72