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Fathers & Daughters

2016-07-01 14:39

What it's about:

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.

What we thought:

From the director of The Pursuit of Happiness, Fathers & Daughters follow the lives of dad Jake (Russell Crowe) and daughter Katie (Kylie Rogers). The two of them is left without a wife and a mom after a horrific car crash. They are super-close, and as they try to navigate their lives through everything that happens after the accident, the film also fast-forwards to 27 years later, where we get to see a grownup Katie, played by Amanda Seyfried.

Having to raise Katie on his own, Jake, a Pulitzer-winning writer, also suffers from unpredictable seizures and psychotic breaks as a result of the accident. On the advice from his doctor, he checks himself into mental health facility for 7 months during which time Katie goes to stay with her very rich aunt Elizabeth (Diane Kruger) and her husband, William (Bruce Greenwood). 

When Jake gets released from hospital he learns that Elizabeth and her husband want to adopt Katie – even if it means they have to take him to court. In an attempt to raise money for legal fees, Jake sets out to write the best book of his life. He works tirelessly to finish the book while being the most loving father to Katie, who doesn’t have a clue that her aunt wants to adopt her. 

Alternating between the past and the present, we also get a glimpse into how Katie’s childhood had an impact on her life as a young adult. Katie is now a trainee psychologist and social worker who work with orphaned children. She also has a bad habit of having one night stands with men she finds while hanging out at bars.

Without giving too much away, Fathers & Daughters is at times dark and focuses on issues that most people struggle with on a daily basis. Love, loss, fear and trying to figure out where we fit into the world; these all come to the fore through the relationships being portrayed in the film.

Although this film is not award-winning, this must be one of Russell Crowe’s best roles to date. A depressed writer suffering from psychotic breaks, Crowe truly embodies his character as he convincingly suffers from seizure fits. Amanda Seyfried is beautifully broken as Katie who in the end learns how to love. Aaron Paul is honest as aspiring writer Cameron who wins over Katie.

Even though at times the melodrama is a bit much, this film will definitely make you cry. If you’re not keen on a good cry, then rather give this one a miss.

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