A wilderness survival film about what & who we live for.
I’ll be honest. The Father/Daughter relationship in this film is a bit more of a subplot. But as you watch Brad Pitt’s character, Billy Beane, traverse his way through a Major League Baseball season trying to keep a team competitive with a fraction of the payroll of the Yankees and Red Sox, it’s clear that writer Aaron Sorkin is using Beane’s relationship with his daughter to show what’s most important in his life. In a movie full of bro’s, it’s the young daughter that ends up being the real hero.
Review by: JD O’Brien
9. War of the Worlds
Steven Spielberg tackles H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise as dead-beat dad, Ray who is called on to take his kids for the weekend. While Ray finds it difficult to connect with his teenage son Robbie (who calls his dad by his first name), ten-year old Rachel seems to take a liking to her dad, but more like a friend or big brother. His parenting skills quickly take flight when alien invaders begin torching everything on earth, and they are forced to flee home. When things go from bad to worse, Ray can see clearly that Robbie is Rachel's source of safety, which he feels torn about. In the chaos, Robbie is separated from his dad and sister which opens up a door for Rachel to discover that her dad is not just a legal guardian, but a protective father.
Review by: Jenny Vang
This animated Disney classic is set to be re-released as a live action film in 2020, but until then, the late 90’s version is one of the last traditionally animated films before Pixar’s CGI revolution. It’s also one of the most intense harrowing stories in this group. It’s truly the daughter who embarks on the heroine’s journey to save her father. With this, Disney was well ahead of its time.
Review by: JD O’Brien
7. The Seeker
Even though it’s a locally produced indie-film with only a single line of dialogue in the whole movie, the Seeker is one of the most beautiful Father-Daughter stories I’ve ever seen. An hour long film set to the Cloud Cult album by the same name, and produced by the band, this film starring Josh Radnor of How I Met Your Mother, and an ensemble of amazing young women that play his daughter at different ages (more on that later.) The cinematography is incredible and the music is brilliant. This film is very much worth your time.
Review by: JD O’Brien
Studio: The Film Collaborative
6. Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is an American movie that hits at the heart of what it means to love your family deeply even when you know your family is far from normal.
The movie opens with a father and daughter who live deep in the woods on the west coast. They live off of the land and with some camping supplies and using the father’s former military skills. This is the only life that the daughter has ever know. Even so, she knows it’s not completely normal.
Once they are discovered living in the woods an agency tries to help them adjust and also find them a place to live. The reality is having a place to live isn’t the problem. As much as the father loves his daughter, living in society is impossible for him.
The movie culminates as the now early teen daughter must decide if she wants to stay with her father and thus remain a family or if she wants to live the life she knows she deserves.
Leave No Trace will tug on your heart strings, bring a tear to even the most dry eye, and really help you examine what it means to love those who love you. How much is too much? You will cheer for both father and daughter and by the end realize that there isn’t always a happily ever after before the closing credits. This movie is worth your time and will leave you wanting to talk to someone about your experience with this film. You won’t regret it, see Leave No Trace.
Review By: Sharon Rundell
Studio: Bleecker Street
5. Beauty and the Beast
From a literary standpoint, there is much to appreciate about this musical. The contrasts are constant. The selfish prince who cares too much what his peers think becomes the Beast when he mocks an enchantress disguised as a haggard and cold old woman. But through the movie, we see that the Beast wasn’t always that way. After his mother died, the Beast’s father molded him into a man with no love in his heart.
Meanwhile, in a small town living a “provincial life” is Belle, the beauty, whose caring, widowed father has raised her to be an educated, independent woman who ignores what others think of her and is happy helping others in whatever ways she is able, and she gets pretty creative with some of her “help.”
The respect that Maurice, Belle’s father, has for her despite the patriarchal confines and expectations they were living in and the way Maurice and Belle interact with one another makes this a great example of how a dad can encourage, teach, protect and love his kids. It’s also a great example of how caring for others can bring out the best in everyone. Definitely a winner for the father-daughter genre—and really for any genre. A great movie overall.
Review by: Liz Wheeler
The movie Taken is a paradox regarding the father-daughter relationship. What’s great for the plot line is Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired spy. What’s lousy for Bryan’s familial relationships is that, well, he was a spy. From the interactions, you get the feeling he wasn’t able to be there for his now ex-wife or his daughter, Kim, who is turning 17. The fact that both his ex-wife and his daughter are willing to bald-faced lie to him to get his permission for Kim to fly to Paris seems to embolden that inference.
However, if you’re going to be a cute American girl who gets kidnapped in Paris, then you really want a champion who loves you dearly and has “a very particular set of skills.” Bryan is willing to go to any lengths to get his daughter back, and the action and intrigue involved in unraveling the story make this one of the all-time best father-daughter movies.
Review by: Liz Wheeler
Studio: 20th Century Fox
3. Father of the Bride
Oh, Steve Martin. Certainly the most comedic film on this list, Father of the Bride is an early 90’s classic. Macaulay Culkin and everything. But this is truly a heartwarming, hysterical story of a father’s love for his daughter and his coming to grips with her coming of age.
Review by: JD O’Brien
2. I am Sam
I am Sam
Sean Penn provides a stunning performance in this remarkable film about love and parenthood. I Am Sam chronicles the relationship between a father with limited mental capacity and his 7-year-old daughter. This movie shows that parenthood- while it might look different on the outside- is not marked by status ability to “bring home the bacon ” or mental capacity. Sam is a father who takes delight in spending time with his daughter. He is not squeezing time with her in between phone calls and meetings. Everything he does is for or with his daughter.
I Am Sam is both a heartbreaking and heartwarming story. It reminds us that no parent is perfect and it is difficult for any person to raise a child entirely on their own. However a good father is one who will go to great lengths to give his daughter the best life possible and who deeply loves and accepts her for who she is.
Review by: Emily Sample
Studio: New Line Cinema
Before we get to Number 1...
There’s something really special about Father Daughter movies. There’s something so pure about having masculinity and femininity both represented in a deep relationship without sexual tension. Even if we never knew our birth parents, all of us were raised by someone, and can therefore relate to the complexity of a parent/child relationship.
If you love Father Daughter movies, you’ll love After the Gunflint. It follows A man and his granddaughter as they take their annual float-plane fishing trip to the north woods, and for the first time, the girl’s Dad, the man’s son-in-law, accompanies them. When Pops has a heart attack, the other two need to find a way out of the woods while trying to keep Pops alive.
We’re trying to raise $20,000 to get this movie into production. If you love movies like this, donate here: https://www.hatchfund.org/project/after_the_gunflint
1. Les Miserables
Les Miserables is an absolutely beautiful film for many reasons, but at the heart of this film is the contrasting themes of justice and mercy. Jean Valjean, an escaped convict, rises in status as a mayor of a small village, and ends up adopting the daughter of a working class girl who has to turn to prostitution to survive. As the daughter, Cosette, grows up, Valjean continues to treat her as his own daughter, even after the ruthless Inspector Javert tracks down Valjean in his quest for justice.