Julien Neaves, Editor
As I am writing this I just had my plans for an early afternoon nap cancelled by my two endlessly energetic children. So I can definitely sympathise with Kevin Hart’s character Matthew Logelin in Netflix comedy-drama Fatherhood. I say sympathise and not empathise as thankfully I have the support of my wife, and I did not experience his nightmare of losing your wife right after your child is born, and then facing the Herculean task of raising your child as a single father.
Now Hart has made a career out of playing goofy, over-the-top characters in films like Scary Movie 3 and the two Jumanji sequels, but here he commits to a dramatic straight man. Sure, there are flashes of the silly comedy but it is mostly a very reserved performance. And a pretty fantastic one at that. Hart acts his shoes, socks and shoelaces off. He is completely and heart-wrenchingly believable as a widower and in multiple scenes was wringing tears out of my eyes. I truly was not expecting him to be as good as he was.
Hart also shines in his chemistry with actress Melody Hurd who plays his daughter Madison aka Maddy. The young Hurd is no slouch herself, and is very believable as the precocious little girl. Hart is well supported by screen veterans Alfre Woodard and Frankie Faison as Maddy’s maternal grandparents, and he has some great scenes with Woodard especially. We also have comedian Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) and Anthony Carrigan as Matthew’s friends Jordan and Oscar respectively. Lil Rel was cool but I found the jokes around Carrigan (who I first met as psychotic hit man Victor Zsasz in Gotham and still can’t get out of my head) as the awkward Oscar just fell completely flat for me. The funniest moments are actually the early ones of Matthew caring for baby Maddy, and I am sure every parent can relate to (and laugh at) his struggles.
The film also features a romantic element with Matthew’s love interest Swan played by the ridiculously gorgeous DeWanda Wise (Spike Lee’s Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It). The two are cute and funny together but there’s nothing revolutionary. Where Fatherhood shines is in its exploration of Matthew’s fears about not being a good father. I think it’s a fear that almost every parent faces at some point and at various stages of the child’s life. I also appreciated the message that parenting is not a one-person job and it is important to have help from family and a support system.
I loved this movie and I recommend it unreservedly. Sure, not all the humour hits and it is super predictable, but Hart’s brilliant dramatic turn, the strong character chemistry, and an important message make it a must-see film.
Editor Jules’s Score: 8 out of 10
So what did you think of Fatherhood? And you can check out more comedy-drama content below:
The Intouchables is an Untouchable Comedy-Drama
Netflix Heist Flick ‘I Care a Lot’ is a Fresh, Sharp and Darkly Humorous Time
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.