Good movies inspire, touch, and move. Very good films remain in the memory and, at best, give a boost to one’s life. New parents in particular can make good use of it, because with the kids you suddenly find yourself in a whole new situation. And since parents often lack real role models these days, a fairy tale can’t hurt. Our film and fathers expert, Andreas Seltmann, has compiled a list of films that focus on men who have accepted the challenge of fatherhood.
1. “Suddenly Daddy” (2016)
This is what it’s about: A fun-loving French driver (Omar Sy) drives tourists along the Mediterranean coast. One day, a beach lover takes a baby in his arms and he disappears back to London. In search of her, he stood by the Thames, became a stuntman and turned into a loving single father. A beautiful, touching father-daughter comedy with depth and tragedy, which vividly tells about love, white lies, responsibility and the meaning of life.
What do you learn from him: Priorities can change in life. And suddenly the most important thing is just to please the daughter – and the rest is secondary.
Watch here: “Suddenly Papa” or buy a DVD here
2. “Like father, like son” (2013)
This is what it’s about: Successful architect (Masahru Fukuyama) and his wife (Machiko Ono) learn that their young son was transfigured at birth six years ago. Her biological child grew up in the home of a messy but loving electronics retailer. Both sets of parents are initially reluctant to exchange boys, but are increasingly forced to make a decision. A challenging drama about paternity, ancestry, and family ties that avoids dramatic escalation. The different personalities and conflicting life plans of the families always laugh.
What do you learn from him: You can love a child madly even if you are not the biological father (or mother). Blood is denser than water? Forget this saying.
Watch here: “Like Father, Like Son” or buy it here on DVD
3. “The Big Fish: The Magic That Turns Life into a Legend” (2003)
This is what it’s about: The fictional storyteller (Ewan McGregor or Albert Finney), who seems to have invented his own amazing (life) stories, doesn’t let his cards be seen even on his deathbed. He surprises his adult son (Billy Crudup), who he wants to reconcile with, with new aspects of his memory.
What do you learn from him: You should always give space to your imagination and your children’s imagination. Because stories enrich life and live after you.
Buy on DVD: “The Big Fish – The Magician Who Turns Life into a Legend”
4- “Parenthood” (2021)
This is what it’s about: When his wife unexpectedly dies just a day after the birth of their daughter, Matt (Kevin Hart) has to take care of his child alone. The new widower’s life, which had previously seemed perfect, got out of hand at first, but he didn’t want to give up. The film is based on Matthew Loughlin’s 2011 memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love. The film takes place on two levels of time and sees itself as a warm-hearted tragic comedy bolstered by faith in the power of love and solidarity, even in the face of tragedy.
What do you learn from him: You can fail a challenge or surpass yourself through it. But no matter what, never lose your sense of humor.
5. Boyhood (2014)
This is what it’s about: In twelve years of filming with the same actors, the film tells the childhood and youthful story of a boy (Ellar Colltrane) who grows up in Texas with his sister (Lorelei Linklater) and mother (Patricia Arquette) and is looked after. By his grandmother – when suddenly the father of the children (Ethan Hawke) appeared. The special feature: all the actors really grow up in the course of the film project, so that the story of coming of age seems almost real.
What do you learn from him: You are not born a father, becoming a father is a process. It is okay for the father to find himself first.
Watch here: “boyhood”
6. “The Descendants – Family and Other Matters” (2011)
This is what it’s about: A wealthy Hawaiian attorney (George Clooney) must re-develop his role as a father when his wife (Patricia Haste) is left in a coma after a boat accident. Plus: his eldest daughter (Shailene Woodley) reveals that her mother cheated on him, too. A touching film about rediscovering family values, it is as sad as it is exhilarating and impressively describes the complex state of mind of a father. Tragedy alternates with comedy in a confident manner and finds a good balance.
What do you learn from him: You can always redefine your role as a father – very few things set in stone. Luckily.
Watch here: “The Descendants – Family and Other Matters” or buy a Blu-ray here.
7. Junior (2010)
This is what it’s about: As his 75-year-old father (Christopher Plummer) declares his homosexuality after the death of his wife (Mary Paige Keeler), Oliver (Ewan McGregor), a slightly depressed artist, soon falls in love with a goofy actress (Melani Laurent). After the death of the mother, a close relationship arises between father and son, in which the father shows his son how to enjoy life.
What do you learn from him: Being a parent does not end when the child reaches adulthood, on the contrary: the fun begins.
Watch here: “beginners”
8. The Tree of Life (2011)
This is what it’s about: The drama follows a family tragedy in 1950s Texas: three siblings grow up between a protective mother (Jesica Chastain) and a strict father (Brad Pitt). Her father believed that he could only prepare her for life’s difficulties by raising her with a similar heavy hand. He uses it to inflict deep wounds that continue to inflict pain on Jack (Sean Penn), the eldest son, even as an adult. The family collapses when the middle son dies in the Vietnam War. Jack does not process this trauma and even as an adult, as a successful architect in Houston, he has to think about his deceased brother every day.
What do you learn from him: Think about your father’s behavior and realize that he doesn’t always act of his own free will either.
Buy on DVD: “Tree of the life”
9. “Amy and the Wild Geese” (1996)
This is what it’s about: 13-year-old Amy Alden (Anna Paquin), who was brought to Canada by her father (Jeff Daniels) after her mother died in an accident, discovers the orphan nest of a Canada goose on her travels through the region. Amy incubates eggs in a tray and ends up raising 16 baby geese, restoring their balance and connecting with their environment. The birds, imprinted on Amy, consider her her mother and instinctively follow her. With the help of light aircraft, migratory birds will be driven south in the fall.
What do you learn from him: As a parent, you don’t always have to lead the way, children’s thoughts can also overshadow parents. But remember: children can do a lot on their own, but not everything on their own.
Buy on DVD: “Amy and the Wild Geese”
10. “Captain Fantastic” (2016)
This is what it’s about: A father of six (Viggo Mortensen) has withdrawn from society with his children. After his wife commits suicide on a trip across the United States, he has to stand up for his ideals while at the same time questioning her. The tragic comedy in a contrasting and humorous way narrates the yearning for an alternative life model and notes the consequences of this, especially for children. The film impresses with the unexpected twists and the fact that the protagonist’s vision is never ridiculed, but rather seeks a compromise between conformity and rebellion.
What do you learn from him: It’s good to have a life plan and a goal in mind. However, sometimes, course correction is necessary for the well-being of children. Plan B is always good.
Watch here: “Captain Fantastic – Once Wilderness and Back” or buy here on DVD
11. “Finding Nemo” (2003)
That’s what it’s all about: In this animated film from Pixar, clownfish Marlin (voiced by Christian Trametz) loses his wife and offspring to a barracuda attack at the beginning of the film. Only one egg remained, the little Nemo (Dominic Riddell). Overprotective father Marilyn can’t stop divers from capturing Nemo on a school trip and ending up in a Sydney aquarium. Despite all the challenges, Marilyn makes his way across oceans with forgotten lady Tang Dory (Anke Engelke) in order to free his son.
This is what you learn from him: As a parent, you have to learn to trust your children and be able to let go of them – even when the world is dangerous.
Watch here: “Finding Nemo” or buy here on DVD
12- Mrs. Dobtfire (1993)
That’s what it’s all about: Dad of Three Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is a voice impersonator who fools with his kids whenever he can. When his wife files for divorce one day and also applies for custody, Daniel’s world collapses. In order to continue to spend a lot of time with his children, he disguises himself as a woman and hires his ex-wife as a nanny.
This is what you learn from him: Even in the event of a divorce, childcare should remain the most important thing for both parents.
Buy on Blu-ray: “Mrs. Doubtfire”
Surely life writes the best stories. But you can still get some suggestions for family life from the world of cinema. Just remember: you are the director!
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