Vol. 14, No. 20 – June 30 – July 13, 2021 – Movie Review

Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
Fatherhood – Netflix Originals

3 out of 4 palm trees
Breeze rating from 1 to 4 palm trees, 4 being best.

Fatherhood shares the emotional true story of a widowed father faced with raising his newborn daughter on his own after losing his wife in the hospital shortly after giving birth the their first child. Matt (Kevin Hart) certainly didn’t plan on coming home without his wife Liz, leaving him on his own to raise little Maddy (Melody Hurd). Matt felt completely unprepared to raise his daughter on his own, especially while still grieving over the loss of his wife, so his mother and his overbearing mother-in-law Marian (Alfre Woodard) stayed for several weeks to help.

Marian was continually trying to convince Matt to go back to Minnesota to raise Maddy near her and other family, but soon Matt grew irritated with the constant pressure and belittling that Marian kept doing and though she wanted to stay for 6 months sent her home after 5 weeks at the same time as his own mother. Marian was reluctant to go having concerns over Matt’s ability to raise Maddy on his own, but Matt said that he wouldn’t be able to develop the skills to raise her if he wasn’t given the chance.

Matt quickly discovered clever ways to help deal with his challenging situation, like putting a basketball hoop above the diaper bucket. He also joined a parenting group to get help and tips how to raise children, which is where he discovered that Maddy’s constant crying was no fault of his, that is was colic and a normal issue with newborn babies. In order to avoid difficult conversation whenever anybody asked where the mother was, he made up stories like she’s an astronaut or she’s in prison, which made it easier for him to not have to discuss his wife.

Matt’s very supportive boss Paul (Paul Reiser) let him bring Maddy to work, but unfortunately his work started suffering with him falling asleep in meetings and bringing his baby and a vacuum to help stop her crying. Fortunately the clients understood and gave Matt some good baby tips. Matt also had the support of his two best friends Jordan (Lil Rell Howery) and Oscar (Anthony Carrigan) who did things like playing poker for cookies with Maddy and Matt.

Fast forward and Maddy is now in elementary school and Matt’s faced with the challenges of young black women’s hair, fashionable dress and sent Maddy to the school that his wife Liz wanted her to attend. It was a private school run by nuns and though the school has a dress code requiring girls to wear skirts, Maddy decided to wear pants which her father definitely supported.

Matt’s friend Oscar decided to set Matt up with his friend Lizzy at a birthday party in the park, and they definitely seemed to have great chemistry. When Matt was finally ready to have Maddy meet Lizzy, Lizzy told Maddy she can call her Swan, to avoid any issues with her mother’s name, and they too hit it off right from the start. Matt decided to call things off with Swan after feeling guilty that Maddy was injured at school while they were out on a date.

Matt had to take a trip for work, so took Maddy to stay with Marian, but ended up ditching the work trip and got on a plane to Minnesota to bring Maddy back to Boston. Matt took Maddy to see Swan to apologize which made Maddy happy as she really liked Swan. Upon returning for the new school year, Maddy again wore pants and Matt wore a skirt, and the nuns seemed happy to share that due to an incident with Maddy at school they were changing the dress code.

Kevin Hart shows the perfect combination of comedy and compassion in his role in this true story.

Rated: PG-13

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