★★★★½ Watched 25 Jun, 2020
Brice Dallas Howard (mom, 3rd generation Hollywood actress and 2nd generation Hollywood director) made a surprisingly honest and down to earth documentary about fatherhood and what it means to be a modern, very involved, and always present father in contrast to a traditional emotionally distant, and always working. The trailer (the unfortunate victim of marketing) leaves you with a false image of celebrity dads (Ron Howard, Will Smith, Conan O’Brien, Neil Patrick Harris, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Judd Apatow, Hasan Minhaj, Patton Oswalt…) talking about what it means for them being a dad. That is only the embellishment of the main focus, which is the everyday reality of five stay-at-home dads from different parts of the world (Japan, Brazil, USA) and economic backgrounds. Emotions fly high at different moments in the interviews while dads are recollecting or explaining their state of mind and decision making.
At some point, one of the dads mentioned he knew he wanted to be a father since he was 6. Since I already watched a few episodes of The Red Table Talk hosted and produced by Will Smith’s wife Jada, I knew Smith feels the same sentiment. A profound experience I share as well. At the tender and clueless age of 5 I still recall explaining to my parents my life goal wanting to have 5 kids… if the woman I choose would agree to it of course. Now I have two underage boys, but the path was not easy as I had to follow my heart first from Central Europe to Scandinavia and then to South America to fulfill my deepest desire and silence the inner voice that laid heavy on my heart.
The narrative is intercut with YouTube videos showing unknown dads during various activities with their kids common these days. And no matter the differences in the cultural background they all feel relatable. I find endearing how Brice shows off the quirkiness of her own family with clips of her parent’s home videos filming her birth and other family activities. They are a family of filmmakers after all.
Dads is Brice’s heartfelt and genuine tribute to her famous father Ron Howard (and as an extension her grandfather Rance, also an actor, who died roughly 3 years ago), as well as a celebration of all modern dads trying to survive the days at home with their kids, sometimes alone and other times with a couple.