A Pulitzer-winning writer grapples with being a widower and father after a mental breakdown, while, 27 years later, his grown daughter struggles to forge connections of her own.A Pulitzer-winning writer grapples with being a widower and father after a mental breakdown, while, 27 years later, his grown daughter struggles to forge connections of her own.A Pulitzer-winning writer grapples with being a widower and father after a mental breakdown, while, 27 years later, his grown daughter struggles to forge connections of her own.
For a basic plot summary, "Fathers & Daughters" opens with writer Jake Davis (Crowe) struggling to cope with his life after the loss of his wife in a car accident. Fortunately, he still has his lovely daughter Katie (Kylie Rogers), but even that is threatened when his seizures and medical problems begin. Flash-forward 20-some years later, and Katie (Seyfried) has grown up to become a successful social worker...who is also as promiscuous as they come in terms of love life. However, when a new little girl named Lucy (Quvenzhane Wallis) is put in her care, and then Katie meets Cameron (Paul), she begins to be confronted by the demons in her life that have caused her so much pain.
I wish I could say that "Fathers & Daughters" is a "best of all-time" type of movie, but the fact is that it isn't. The writers/producers/director make some head-scratching choices about how they play the narrative out, and there are a few key plot points missing that probably needed to be included to make this a "tighter" film. So, this is really more of a "niche" film built on emotion.
But boy oh boy, though, does that niche ever get filled perfectly here! I'm not usually one to get overly emotional during a film-watching experience (at least visually), but "Fathers & Daughters" moved me to tears on a few occasions. It truly is that powerful of a film, as it deals primarily with the relationship between a father and daughter (something that isn't always seen in these types of films). It would have been very, very easy for this film to turn into a typical tearjerker, as all the elements for it are indeed present. Fortunately, although not without a few hiccups along the way, it ends up producing natural instead of contrived emotions, which I have a great deal of respect for. All the emotional moments in the movie feel earned.
In large part, I believe that is due to the incredible acting performances in the flick. It has been awhile since I've seen a movie where every performance was this spot-on. Crowe really commits (and when that happens, he's always golden), Seyfried is (as usual) perfect for her role, and Paul is absolutely killing every role he takes these days. Even the youngsters, Wallis and especially Rogers, bring the emotion perfectly.
So, while "Fathers & Daughters" may not rise to elite heights due to a few storytelling difficulties, it has more than enough acting and emotion to be a solid film. It uncommonly moved me during my viewing of it, and I will always remember the experience because of it. Even if this doesn't look like your "cup of tea", you may want to give it a chance, as more than likely you'll be moved as well.
- Feb 27, 2017