Fathers and Daughters is a beautiful tear-jerker full of superb performances [Review]

By Melanie Leung
By Melanie Leung |

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A decade after directing The Pursuit of Happyness, Gabriele Muccino once again explores the parent-child dynamic in his touching new film, Fathers and Daughters.

Russell Crowe takes on the role of Jake Davis, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who has been suffering from increasingly severe breakdowns and seizures since he killed his wife in a car crash. His latest novel isn’t selling well, and it is heart-wrenching to see him struggle to provide for his eight-year-old daughter Katie (Kylie Rogers). He’s also fighting an expensive legal battle against his rich in-laws, who want to adopt Katie themselves.

Crowe and Rogers share an exceptional chemistry, and their scenes together are the highlights of this film. Rogers’ performance is outstanding, portraying a level of grief few children her age are even capable of comprehending.

This narrative alternates with a present-day storyline, where we see a grown-up Katie (Amanda Seyfried) struggle with committing to a relationship.

While the film doesn’t offer huge surprises, and the numerous tracking shots are somewhat distracting, it is Seyfried’s powerful acting that reveals the demons Katie is battling. Through helping another traumatised girl, Lucy, Katie is able re-live happy memories she shared with her father, from a carer’s perspective.

Get your tissues ready, because you’ll be needing them.