A child with two parents comes to mind when you think of a conventional family unit. In fact, not everyone in the world gets the opportunity to grow up and know both of their parents. Maddy Logelin loses her mother shortly after her birth in Netflix’s new film Fatherhood. Against everyone’s advise, her father, a happy-go-lucky and frequently clumsy Matt Logelin, intends to raise her alone.
As is the case with most new fathers, we get the feeling early on that Matt isn’t quite ready for parenting. On the day his wife Liz is supposed to have a C-section, we see Matt still hasn’t put up the baby’s crib in the flashback sequences intercut with the present. Matt is a caring spouse who is excitedly anticipating the birth of his kid, but it is apparent that Liz is the relationship’s sane voice.
The surgery is successful, but Liz collapses the next day due to an unanticipated pulmonary embolism. Matt is crushed by this, as he has the happiest and darkest days of his life in the space of 24 hours. “If you could have one parent, I truly wish it were your mommy,” Matt tells his kid during Liz’s burial. In some ways, this foreshadows Matt’s parenting approach. Despite the fact that he is the one raising Maddie, he does so in the manner that Liz would have preferred. He takes on the role of both father and mother for his child.
Matt, on the other hand, retains his childlike characteristics even under the most trying of circumstances. He treats Maddie like a buddy, dancing with the infant to Salt-N-Pepa and putting her soiled diapers through a basketball hoop. When Maddy enters school, he allows her to wear slacks instead of the traditional girls’ uniform. He teaches her how to play poker and instills in her a strong sense of self-confidence.
The intricacy of Parenting is what makes it such a charming movie. It conveys a lot without saying anything. “This is not the AA,” one of the moms remarks in a scene where Matt attends a group for new parents. “This is a group for new mothers,” he is informed when he informs them he is truly there for the meeting. Unfazed, Matt claims the sign outside says “Parents” and then goes on to brag about how much Maddie is pooping, subconsciously winning over a hostile crowd.
The show’s dark moments are countered by just the right amount of comedy. There is no comedy or jokes, yet there are enough light moments to keep the picture interesting. Because Kevin Hart is fundamentally a comic, the filmmakers should be commended for resisting the desire to go full out.
When it comes to Hart’s acting, Fatherhood takes him to new heights. Hart had previously only been in comedic flicks, so now is his chance to shine. Melody Hurd, a little girl, has the potential to become one of this generation’s most sought-after child stars. On the other side, Alfre Woodard shines as Liz’s heartbroken mother, who can’t help but blame her son-in-law for her daughter’s murder.
In a stroke, Fatherhood is a two-hour film that is well worth your time. It is both warm and refreshing, as well as eye-opening.