Movies to watch on Netflix: Kevin Hart’s Fatherhood

FATHERHOOD (L-R): KEVIN HART as MATT, ALFRE WOODARD as MARION. Cr. PHILIPPE BOSSE/NETFLIX © 2021.
FATHERHOOD (L-R): KEVIN HART as MATT, ALFRE WOODARD as MARION. Cr. PHILIPPE BOSSE/NETFLIX © 2021. /
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Arriving on Father’s Day weekend, Kevin Hart’s latest movie Fatherhood tackles some heavy subject matter with funny moments sprinkled in. The movie sees Matt (Kevin Hart) raising his daughter Maddy (Melody Hurd, Them) after losing his wife in childbirth. Seeing Kevin hart in such a heavy role, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I loved his performance in the most recent Jumanji movie so I was willing to give it a chance.

Fatherhood has a strong cast all around. Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) plays one of Matt’s friends and offers a lot of comic relief in this movie. Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage) and Frankie Faison (Coming to America) play Matt’s in-laws who both offer guidance and provide some of the tension in the story questioning if Matt can raise his daughter alone.

What works in Fatherhood?

The movie actually starts with Matt’s wife Liz’s (Deborah Ayorinde, Them) funeral. Early on in the film, we go back and forth between the funeral and the events leading up to Liz’s passing. I appreciated that we got to spend some time with her and also some time seeing them as a couple. Not quick flashbacks but a few days in their lives. The single father with the mother who passed away story is not a new one, but Fatherhood makes sure that the mother is a real character.

One thing about Fatherhood that I thought was interesting is that the heavy moments were not made heavier by an overbearing score. At the same time, humorous moments are not enhanced with music either. This gives the movie a very grounded and even feel throughout. It makes the characters more believable when there isn’t a ton of music to tell you how to feel.

Fatherhood balances heavy dramatic moments with random moments of comedy

The pacing in Fatherhood is also great. After getting through the initial aftermath and the flashback sequence, we get to spend some time with Matt as a new father. We get to see him navigate going back to work and co-workers who don’t know how to talk to him. We also get to see him make mistakes as a new father as he works his way through it. After a pivotal moment in this story, we jump ahead to a young Maddy who has a big personality.

Melody Hurd steals the show! Once we jump ahead to young Maddy, Melody Hurd takes over. A child should not be able to portray the range that she does in this movie but she was great. You get to see her be fun and active, you get to see her poker face, and you get to see her be sad. Maddy is a smart little girl with some tomboy tendencies and she keeps her dad’s hands full.

What didn’t work in Fatherhood?

By no means do I think Fatherhood is a perfect movie. There are humorous moments that feel poorly timed. For example, early on in the movie, Matt’s friends are talking to him at the repass and are making bad jokes. I understand the characters are supposed to be a little goofy but this could have been the one time they weren’t. At least not as far as one of the characters takes it.

This is something that has worked in other movies but sometimes it doesn’t work here. Something I didn’t know about the movie is that it was based on a true story.

What is Fatherhood‘s intended audience?

Fatherhood is a drama, make no mistake about it. There is plenty of humor but the heart of the movie is watching Matt try to figure out how to be a dad. Besides just raising his daughter he is also trying to honor his wife’s legacy. Many times throughout the movie, his wife’s wishes or the wishes of her mother become something that Matt has to struggle with.

Do not go into this film expecting to spend a ton of time laughing. I didn’t watch the trailer and I was expecting it to be more of a comedy but I’m not mad that that’s not what I got. This is a solid movie. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a few moments that got to me. It definitely could have been more emotional had they allowed themselves to wallow in the heavy moments but if they did that it might be unbearable to some viewers.

If you enjoy family dramas or are a fan of Kevin Hart, this movie is definitely safe to view. I personally would recommend the movie just to see Melody Hurd as Maddy. Also, I didn’t know this going in but Fatherhood is based on a true story.

Fatherhood is now streaming on Netflix if you’re ready to give it a shot.

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