A family affair

Une affaire de famille

You know Bryce Dallas Howard. And not just because of Ron Howard, his famous father filmmaker. In recent years, you’ve seen it in several films, successfully as Jurassic World, The Help (The color of feelings), and Rocketman. This year, it unveils a new facet of herself by offering her first documentary as a director, Dads.

World premiere at the Toronto film Festival in 2019 and relayed by Apple TV+ since Friday, Dads explores authorship through testimonies of hollywood stars and anonymous.

Full of good feelings, this film is also a family affair for Bryce Dallas Howard. Not only his brother, Reed Howard) appears, but his father product. An advantage that is not negligible when one takes a look at some of the blockbusters he has made over the past three decades, such as Splash (1984), Appolo 13 (1995), The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Solo : A history of Star Wars (2018).

Reed Howard has recently become the father of a small daughter.

Imperfect

Despite a great team in front of and behind the lens, Dads is not without flaws. During 1 hour and 20 minutes, one passes from one subject to another without clear guideline. As a spectator, one sometimes has the impression that Brice Howard Dallas has spawned a documentary in raboutant portraits scattered fathers. The whole, interspersed with celebrity testimonials.

These tiles give rhythm to the film, but in the end, it would have been without it. Most are deeply anecdotal. Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’brien, Judd Apatow and Kenan Thompson is going to stories and disposable after use. Others, like Will Smith, leave a greater trace. The actor in the films Independence Day and Men in Black falls into this category. Admittedly, its analogies of nature are arboreal (“A father is like a master gardener…”) miss the target, but when he tells about the birth of Jaden, her first child with Jada Pinkett, he is captivating. When the latter has lost its water, it was in the process of refer to the instruction manual of 1000 pages of the tv that he had just purchase. In this context, it includes her reaction to his return from hospital : “For a tv, we are given a manual of 1000 pages, but for a baby, we are returned from us with empty hands?”

Robert Selby and his boy.

The “real world”

As to the portraits of fathers from “the real world”, the more the film progresses, the more they appear to be relevant. In the opening, the testimony of a former worker who shares his new reality of father in the household has little interest.

Fortunately, we don’t say as much about the last guide, that exposes the daily life of Rob and Reece Scheer, a couple who adopted four children with the heavy past in the space of six months. One of them, suffering from shaken baby syndrome, had a mother aged 12.

Rob Scheer, Reece Scheer and their children.

These two men are far from wealthy and have to manage situations far from obvious, but every day, they appreciate their chance to be fathers. “I won the big prize,” says one of them.

It should also be noted the great diversity of stakeholders. Bryce Dallas Howard was not content to interview its immediate neighbours. While exposing different corners of the United States, his film takes us elsewhere, as in Japan, where Shuichi Sakuma, an ex-workaholic who spent 150 hours per week at work before you catch an autoimmune disease, tries to raise his only son. The camera transports us also in Brazil, where it shows the daily life of a parent blogger.

► Dads is offered on Apple TV+.

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