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Three Favorite Father's Day Films
by Betty Jo Tucker

Many movies have been made about the father-child relationship.  And most people would probably name films like Father of the Bride, Cheaper by the Dozen,  To Kill a Mockingbird as their favorites. However, my unusual three choices are listed below. The first one tells the true story of a man whose wife died in childbirth and who wants to raise his daughter by himself. The second is a fantasy about an estranged father and son. The third entertains us with the antics of a teenage girl and a British aristocrat who doesnít know she is his daughter. All three are available on DVD.         

FATHERHOOD (2021). Ups and downs for a father raising a child all by himself receive candid attention in Fatherhood. Surprisingly, popular comedian Kevin Hart shows very little of his usual loud-mouth comic side here as Matt, a man who chooses to raise his baby daughter all by himself. The film is based on Two Kisses for Maddy, a tender memoir by Matt Logelin. And Dana Stevens joined Weitz in writing the wonderful screenplay. Along with Hartís strong performance, supporting cast members also deliver the goods, especially Melody Hurd, who plays darling Maddy, and DeWanda Wise as a charming new love interest.

BIG FISH (2004). Tim Burtonís film focuses on a man whose entire life revolves around storytelling. Based on Daniel Wallace's novel, this enchanting combination of fantasy and reality features memorable performances by Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor as Edward Bloom at various stages of the man's life -- as well as by Billy Crudup in the more down-to-earth role of Bloom's estranged son William. Returning home to be with his dying father, William hopes to find out more about the man who told him such wild stories while growing up -- but always kept him at arm's length. Unfortunately, his dad still regales everyone with the same tall tales, so William is forced to listen again. Finally, William learns that his father's incredible stories actually reveal many truths about who he really is. Imaginative storytelling at its best!

WHAT A GIRL WANTS (2003). Here is an entertaining movie that follows the misadventures of an American teenager as she shows her newly-found aristocratic British father a thing or two about having fun and being true to yourself. Because Amanda Bynes and Colin Firth play the rambunctious daughter and stuffy father so engagingly, this romantic fairy tale charmed me completely. A similar story also worked back in 1958 when it was the basis for a film called The Reluctant Debutante and starred Sandra Dee and Rex Harrison. This time around, Bynes plays the daughter with more physical humor and Firth projects more unconscious sex appeal as the father, but both versions are fun and definitely worth seeing.


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