Movie Dads We Wish Were Ours—And Why We Love Them
Just a little. Love you, pops!
I think my Dad’s pretty great, shortcomings aside. I make it a point to honor and celebrate him regularly—he’ll state otherwise—regardless of the occasion because, let’s face it, it takes a pretty patient man to tolerate my stubbornness.
If you’re still planning the perfect celebration, why not consider a movie date with your pops featuring these fictional fathers from tearjerking dramas to action thrillers? Whether it’s a crossdressing nanny to a Wall Street apprentice, we round up the best dads in movie history.
Who: Daniel Hillard
Film: Mrs. Doubtfire
Why We Love Him: If you were a 90s baby, chances are you’re acquainted with Mrs. Doubtfire, the divorcé dressing in drag as a nurturing nanny—Mary Poppins but not quite—to reconnect with his estranged children. This dorky dad movie won the hearts of many and besides, who wouldn’t want Robin Williams as a dad IRL—even just for a day?! If love isn’t dressing up in a pair of stockings, a wig and a full face of makeup every day, then what is?
Who: Chris Gardner
Film: The Pursuit of Happyness
Why We Love Him: Before his memorable portrayal of Genie in the 2019 Aladdin remake, Will Smith played a homeless single dad to Christopher—played by real life son Jaden Smith—desperately trying his best to make ends meet. The man just can’t get a break. Based on real life, The Pursuit of Happyness is the rags to riches story of an African-American struggling salesman turned millionaire businessman who found his calling in Wall Street. In the most arduous of situations, a father’s love flourishes even more. Jsyk, it’s on Netfllix—and prepare tissues, I mean it.
Who: George Bailey
Film: It’s A Wonderful Life
Why We Love Him: Next to Home Alone, a Christmas classic worth revisiting (anytime of the year tbh) is Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. The black and white, almost film noir flick might be grim—for some, a questionable family film—grappling with grave issues such as war, poverty and death but shows the essence of family spirit.
After a lifetime of suffering, in a seeming bout of helplessness, George Bailey pleads to not have been born at all and discovers a world without him. Bedford Falls is no more, literally. From one chance encounter to another, somehow he realizes that his presence has changed countless of lives. After divine intervention, he recognizes how it would be a huge mistake to throw his life away.
Fathers aren’t perfect—vulnerable meltdowns and seething rebuke included—though they refuse to show it. This is as real as it gets. But, they’re also the best examples of selflessness. Life may not always agree with them but they will do everything in their ability to protect and provide for the ones they love.
Who: Bryan Mills
Why We Love Him: There’s a good reason why your Dad is restless when you don’t answer any of his calls or messages: He’s probably watched Taken, once or twice. Bryan Mills is your badass retired CIA field agent a.k.a. assassin who risks everything to track down his daughter after being auctioned off for sex trafficking—but I bet you already knew that. Dads can get overprotective, but always in good faith. Answer your Dad’s call, it will only take a minute. Just do it.
Art Alexandra Lara