Friday, September 29, 2023

Daddy issues at the movies

It's such a fucking cliche, but movies about parenthood and all the things that come with it really do hit me more in the heart, now that I'm a parent myself. 

Most obviously, any type of movie that features children in jeopardy really knock me on my arse now. I always felt bad for that poor fucking kid on the inflatable in Jaws, disappearing in a fountain of gore just a few metres from safety, but now it's the worst possible thing I can imagine.

But it's not just that. I've seen the Godfather in recent months and it hits differently, in surprising new ways. There is a sudden new sympathy for the plight of old Vito - he only wants the very best for Michael, and the tragedy is that he doesn't get it, and knows that before the end. And I might have watched The Carousel scene in Mad Men a million times, but there are new pains in the family photos of better times, and a place that you are loved and can't get back to.   

It's not just the classics. Even a dopey fucking movie like Sean Penn's recent Flag Day gets some kind of emotional reaction out of me, even when the father he plays does the dumbest things in the world.

I'm also way less forgiving of shit dads, and can get judgemental as fuck about it, and can't bear to see parents abusing their kids, because I literally can't imagine the mindset that it's okay.

Hollywood movies and TV shows always the characters suffering from daddy and mummy issues, and it's become such a trope that it's hard to get any kind of new resonance out of it. But if the writing is good enough - hey Hollywood, pay your fucking writers - I can find something new in the oldest of cliches.


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