A Truly Special Bond


By Paul Hall

Becoming a first-time parent is a scary thing. It doesn’t matter how much you prepare or how ready you think you are, life is about to change. But the new movie Fatherhood, on Netflix now, takes the situation to another level.

Matt (Kevin Hart) and his wife Liz (Deborah Ayorinde) have a nice life together and are prepared to welcome their first child into the world. Unfortunately, due to complications after the birth of their daughter, Matt unexpectedly loses his best friend and the woman he expected to be parents with for life. Now the journey from day one will be the role of single parent.

To a person, no one believes Matt can raise his daughter. He’s not ready to do this on his own and even his own mother is skeptical. His mother-in-law Marion (Alfre Woodard) has lost her baby, lost the future she hoped for and wants the best for her new granddaughter.

Matt is determined to stay in the city he and Liz called home while changing his life to raise his new daughter and as Maddy (Melody Hurd) grows, he learns and experiences the wonder of fatherhood. But how long can he keep this up and what does the future hold for this single father?

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a father of one daughter and am lucky to have a beautiful wife to go through the experience of parenting with me. I have the daddy-daughter connection Matt and Maddy display in the movie, with only half of the challenges. And I can unequivocally say — parenting is hard work.

Hart brings a solid mix of humor, fear and hope to his endeavor as Matt. It’s a mix that is extremely relatable. Whether he is trying to soothe his daughter as a crying infant or do her hair for school, Hart displays a heartwarming realism in his relationship that mimics reality for many. I felt connected with his efforts and compelled by some honest behavior. There are moments when Hart’s performance gets a bit over the top, but it connected with me as a girl dad.

Although Hart is really good, if there wasn’t a connection with relative newcomer Hurd, the movie would fall on its face. But the good news is, Hurd is delightful. When the two are onscreen together you feel a playful warmth and connection, making it easy to cheer for the pair to succeed no matter who is in their orbit.

Fatherhood connected with me. I laughed and cried a little as I related every moment to my own life. As a father, Matt realized the only thing that truly mattered was his daughter.

Movies like Fatherhood are palate cleansers and help warm fuzzies inhabit the individuals who enjoy them. Awards are not headed its way anytime soon. But for a family evening of fun and light enjoyment, Fatherhood is a winner. Now, go hug your kids, your significant other or anyone else you love. Thank me later for that advice.

Paul’s Grade: B

Rated PG-13
Stars: Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise, Melody Hurd
Director: Paul Weitz