Mental health issues are a pandemic in itself that, sadly, all the fancy pharmaceutical companies have still been unable to provide a cure for. When one’s mind is covered in darkness and screams for help, it sees only one way out – the light they hope to see at the end of the tunnel. What would you do though, when you desperately try to help someone who is in need of connection but rejects it?
Franklin (James Morosini) is a perfect example of a young and tortured soul, who is lucky to survive after an attempted suicide. His mother Diane (Amy Landecker) goes far and beyond to help her son feel loved and needed. But what the man needs is someone else – someone who can give him what parents or friends cannot give – the love of a soulmate. When Franklin blocks his father Chuck (Patton Oswalt) on social media, the father comes up with an idea to “catfish” his son by impersonating a waitress named Becca. Sending him a friend request leads to the beginning of a great friendship, love and affair – heartbreak and a big revelation which, once all of them collide, will turn into a devastating effect.
Written and directed by James Morosini, who portrays Franklin, “I Love My Dad” takes upon a very difficult task and juggles with it cleverly. We know that what Chuck does is wrong. Once it comes out, it will backfire badly. However, through that intimate relationship using Becca as a way of communicating with his son, the man crosses a dangerous line, when, at some point, even the viewers won’t feel comfortable. But because of the premise being a bit funny, it is still dangerously serious, I wish, some of it, were left out.
Even those particular scenes I rather not mention (not to spoil your first time viewing), the film captures the importance of children not being abandoned at an early age. For that matter, not disappearing from their offspring’s life altogether. But because that happens more often, Franklin, as a victim of it, does not know how to navigate through his adulthood, because the man who should help him navigate through the bumpy road of unexpected reality is nowhere to be found. But once he appears, the damage is already done.
That being said, there is a lot we can learn from “I Love My Dad”. It is a funny and moving comedy that allows its characters to thrive within the cinematic universe, turning their journey into life. It is fascinating to see how both male characters evolve; a father and son relationship and what one does to repair the damage and redeem himself. It has a positive side of the story we must not forget. Family. Unity. Children. Care. Love. Compassion and Presence. It all matters in a child’s life. And when he or she eventually says I love my Mom or Dad, it must come right from the heart. But it’s not the child’s job to plant the seed of love, but the job of a parent to gain that unique spot in the child’s heart. And make them feel they are loved and protected by their parents. And that’s why “I Love My Dad” works. Because it showcases what parents that leave their children behind do – leave trauma that cannot be healed so easily.