‘Fatherhood’ movie review: A portrait of paternal devotion skewed by Kevin Hart’s PR machine

Fatherhood is a sweet and touching real-life story about Matthew Logelin, who is a single dad. It showcases the different troubles that he encounters and how he tackles them.

‘Fatherhood’ movie review: A portrait of paternal devotion skewed by Kevin Hart’s PR machine

While the true story of “Fatherhood” is deeply touching in itself, it has got a sense of empowerment that has been delivered by the woman. Fatherhood happens to be the movie that has become like the ‘image rehab’ for lead actor Kevin Hart. It is actually a popular opinion now, that the movie has been saved by the performances put forward by the women. 

With the pandemic coming in, men around the world have got significant attention, worship the role of fatherhood, or in other words realising the worth of a dad in 2020 and 2021. In such a time, this movie has got significant fame. The Kevin Hart-starrer movie is actually based on the real-life story of Matthew Logelin, a life story that has allowed Kevin Hart to showcase his acting talent in the serious category once again, after his first chance, which he got through the movie, The Upside. 

Fatherhood is a movie that talks  about the challenges of a single father. It put this difficulty forward with Matthew Logelin life story, where he loses his wife right after the birth of their daughter. While Logelin was struck with grief, he was also challenged with parental duties, which he then had to take care of alone. 

The movie has portrayed this issue quite well. It is noteworthy that even though the movie did not have enough scenes with the mother, it could still convey to the audience the importance of a mother, and was able to impart the feeling of her absence. This absence was most felt when Logelin had to take on particularly those tasks which are typically done by a mother for her daughter. One such instance was when he was tying his daughter’s hair for her school. 

The role of the daughter is played well by Melody Hurd and is referred to as the  ‘one to watch.’ She portrays the daughter beautifully, as the girl who grows up without any touch of her mother and gets extremely close to her father. Playing Maddy, her chemistry with Hart is tangible, meeting his parental concern with her sassy wittiness. It is through the more heart-wrenching moments that Hurd truly shines. If you do not watch for Hart, do watch for Hurd.

The movie also has Liz’s mother and is played by Alfre Woodard. She, just like she has done for every other role she has taken, has brought in life in this Netflix movie. Marian, having lost her daughter after what was meant to be the happiest day in her life, wanted Logelin to move away from the city and move to their home in Minnesota, which Logelin resists at every turn. She balances equal measures of empathy and stubbornness, but also  is the giver of love, making her character the audience-favourite. Her acting would be another reason for you to watch this movie.

The movie also had DeWanda Wise as Logelin’s confidant. In real life,  her Fatherhood character marries Logelin but Wise does a great job in closing in a role that is an independent woman and a mother figure to Maddy. In fact, more than Hart, Wise and Hurd have a back-and-forth that is fun to watch. She is a scene-stealer and has performed really well to portray her character in this movie. 

While, the film has way too many positive points, there are some negative ones as well. For one, the movie lost its essence by Kevin Hart PR machine, following his half-baked apology for his antiquated views on the LGBTQ+ community. And then there is the scene where Kevin Hart refuses his daughter from wearing trousers to her very binary uniformed school and responds that  it is 2021 and that should be the least of a school’s worry. Not to be mistaken, Hart’s performance is awesome even in this movie, but the project has wafts of ‘image rehab’ coming off it. Die-hard Harts (as Kevin Hart fans call themselves) would probably not make much of this.

One thing is for sure, the  Academy Award-nominated director Paul Wietz (of American Pie and About A Boy fame) has poured a lot of heart and effort into the creation of this movie. Each and every scene in this movie has put forward this fact and not even one would the audience feel like the movie is getting unnecessarily dragged.  Weitz does a great job of ushering in humour through Logelin, Oscar (Anthony Carrigan) and Jordan’s (Lil Rey Howery) camaraderie.

To be honest, had it been anybody else playing this role, no matter what their fame scale be at, Fatherhood would have been infinitely more wholesome. Do not misunderstand, the movie does have its special sweet and touching moments, but it does make the audience wonder if this possible what if. While the premise of the story is empowering, the film is saved by commendable performances from the women. That being said, the movie should definitely be given that one chance of being tried. 

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