In I Love My Dad, Franklin Green is a troubled young man who has been let down by his father, Chuck, one too many times. But after attending his latest therapy session, Franklin decides one of the next best steps to distance himself from constant disappointment, is to block his father online.
This doesn’t go down too well with Chuck, and it isn’t long before he tries to reconnect with his son. But rather than use his own online profile, which he knows Franklin will ignore, Chuck sets up a fake profile under the guise of a woman called Becca Thompson.
After sending a friend request to Franklin, which is subsequently accepted, Chuck is happy to have online access to his son again. However, he soon finds himself encountering a new wrinkle, when Franklin begins to talk to ‘Becca’ through his DMs.
After getting past a few tricky questions, Chuck manages to keep the conversation going long enough for Franklin to put trust in ‘Becca’. He then continues to converse with Franklin over the coming days and weeks, getting closer to his son along the way.
But as time progresses, Franklin starts to develop feelings for Becca, putting Chuck in a difficult and uncomfortable situation. Should he keep this online relationship going, so that he has instant access to his son, or should he be truthful about his digital deceit?
Written, directed, and starring James Morosini (and inspired by a true story), I Love My Dad is a comedy-drama which is new to video-on-demand platforms in the UK from January 23rd. The movie features a cast which includes Patton Oswalt, Claudia Sulewski, and Lil Rey Howery, and is a clever, witty, and emotionally-charged picture, which looks at catfishing, mental health, and ill-advised parenting.
The movie centres around the two lead characters, Franklin and Chuck, and explores how their relationship and interactions change and develop due to the introduction of ‘Becca’. Over the course of the film, Becca becomes the glue that keeps them together, and even though she is (almost) a complete fabrication, she finally allows Chuck to get closer to his son.
The irony is, had Chuck previously spent this kind of quality time with his child, getting to know who he is and what he likes, things wouldn’t be so strained between them now. It takes a huge lie to undo some of the earlier damage, but in turn, this lie creates new problems.
This lie also forms the backbone of a captivating story, as it becomes clear things are escalating beyond Chuck’s control. ‘Becca’s’ presence drives the narrative forward, and keeps it continually interesting throughout, and adds a great deal to the film.
What’s clever about the movie is the way in which ‘Becca’ is brought to life for the picture. Rather than just appearing via text on a phone or a computer screen, she appears as a physical representation played by Claudia Sulewski.
Becca pops up throughout the film as a virtual girlfriend, as well as an extension of Chuck, and writer/director Morosini uses her physical form to great effect. She helps audiences better understand how easy it is to become catfished, and also helps Franklin to open up on screen.
Becca is a shining beacon of light for Franklin, and someone who is positive and encouraging. She is able to reach Franklin in a way that his father ordinarily can’t, and the film explores the idea of the emotional, conversational, and generational gap that exists between parents and their children.
Outside of Becca, Morosini gives a good performance as Franklin, while Patton Oswalt steals the show as Chuck. As misguided as Chuck is, it’s not difficult to understand the motivation behind his actions and Oswalt plays the role to perfection.
When the film requires comedy, he is able to deliver, and when it needs emotion, he can turn on a dime. Some of the fun in this movie is watching him tie himself up in knots, as he creates more problems for himself.
Throw in some genuinely funny moments, a nice little support role for Lil Rey Howery as Chuck’s friend and confident, as well as a few touching scenes, and I Love My Dad is a great film. It tells an adult tale which hits the spot just right, and delivers an even mix of comedy and drama, which is easy to become invested in.
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