Fathers are often disrespectfully characterized in film. I recently watched four stories showing a different kind of paternal figure.
Warning: not suitable for children.
Outlander, season 4 (2019)
A time travel Starz tv series. Jaime meets his adult daughter for the first time when she travels back in time to pre-revolutionary colonial America to warn her parents of their reported deaths. There are two fathers: one in the present trying to get to know his adult daughter, and one in the past who raised her. Contains rape and love scenes.
Cold Pursuit (2019)
A grief-stricken snowplow driver takes out the bad guys responsible for his son’s death. A tale of three fathers, all different, all criminal, and all deeply committed to their sons. Violence, a serial killer, gay scenes.
Leave No Trace (2018)
A widowed father and his teenage daughter live outdoors, in the Pacific Northwest forests, to avoid being among people. He tenderly teaches her bushcraft, reading, and chess, yet remains psychologically damaged from his wartime experiences. Depicts PTSD and homelessness but no violence.
Hearts Beat Loud (2018)
This is the happiest of the four and my favorite. A widowed record store owner has a brief musical interlude with his daughter before she goes off to college for pre-med. He seems a little lost and sad, but affectionate. Gay kissing scenes, some swearing.
[Side note: The daughter shouldn’t have to pay anything for college. She’s black, smart, wants to be a doctor, and lesbian. There are numerous organizations purporting support of girls in STEM, minority college students, LBTQ, women of color, honor students, etc. that should be throwing money at her education. If these type of students are not getting a full ride from outside funding sources, then all those non-profits proclaiming support are stealing from generous donors.]
Fathers deserve better film portrayals
All these fathers loved their children in their own way. Although absent, cruel, emotionally unavailable dads exist, it is good to see Hollywood portraying fathers as serious, loving, and present. Men are being unfairly criticized and held responsible for the criminal behavior of a few. Men who commit to taking care of their families and being good dads play a crucial role in society and deserve to be celebrated.
We need more examples of men sticking around and doing their best.
They don’t need to be perfect or manly. They just have to try.
And women need to let them.
Name a good dad film you liked. Why? My favorite remains Eagle Huntress (2016) because they are a real family stretching centuries of tradition.