Fatherhood (film)

Fatherhood is a 2021 American comedy-drama film directed by Paul Weitz from a screenplay by Weitz and Dana Stevens, based on the 2011 memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matthew Logelin. The film stars Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard, Frankie R. Faison, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise, Anthony Carrigan, Melody Hurd, and Paul Reiser, and follows a new father who struggles to raise his daughter after the sudden death of his wife.

Fatherhood poster.jpg
Official release poster
Directed byPaul Weitz
Screenplay by
Story byDana Stevens
Based on
Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love
Produced by
  • Marty Bowen
  • Kevin Hart
  • David Beaubaire
  • Peter Kiernan
CinematographyTobias Datum
Edited byJonathan Corn
Music byRupert Gregson-Williams
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • June 18, 2021 (2021-06-18) (United States)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million

Originally scheduled to be released in theaters by Sony Pictures Releasing, Fatherhood was sold to Netflix amid the COVID-19 pandemic and was digitally released on June 18, 2021. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with criticism for its formulaic approach but the emotional weight and Hart's against-type performance receiving praise.


Matthew Logelin's wife Liz passes away after an unexpected early caesarean section delivery of their daughter followed by a pulmonary embolism. At her funeral are him, with his best friends Jordan and Oscar, his mother Anna, as well as Liz's parents Marion and Mike. Matt is now a single father to infant daughter Maddy. Marion urges Matt to move back home to Minnesota so that Maddy could live near her grandparents, but he insists on staying in Boston where he has a good job at a tech company. Matt also has a flexible boss who understands that he's trying to raise his daughter alone.

The first few months caring for Maddy are rough, especially after both Matt and Liz’s parents have gone home. But Matt manages to raise her alone. He sometimes has to bring Maddy to his workplace which creates some tension with his boss Howard, but that soon gets better as well. After some years, Maddy, who is about 5 years old, gets enrolled in a private school. Maddy continually breaks the rules at the school by wearing pants instead of the traditional plaid skirt.

Matt takes Maddy to the park for a birthday party where he meets a woman named Lizzie (Swan), there because Oscar and his wife Rose want to set them up. Matt and Lizzie later agree to go out and they have a good time together. Matt eventually introduces Maddy to Lizzie, and they instantly like each other.

At school, the boys tease Maddy for what she's wearing. She jumps off to tackle one of them but gashes her forehead open. The school tries to reach Matt, but he eventually checks his phone and rushes to the hospital. He tries to take Maddy away, but they insist that she needs stitches. Matt wants to decline as it’s the same hospital where Liz died and he doesn’t trust the doctors there, but he relents and lets them work. Feeling as if he neglected Maddy, Matt breaks it off with Lizzie.

At work, Howard tells Matt that he wants to send him to Croatia for a job. He takes Maddy to spend time with her grandparents. Matt later sees that Marion wants Maddy to stay with them long-term, which Maddy seems more open to. Marion makes him feel he’s making too many mistakes on his own with her, and he tries to take Maddy to go, even though she wants to stay with Liz’s parents. Matt then thinks he isn’t making Maddy happy, so he agrees to let her stay there for now. While Maddy sleeps, he expresses to her his fears about raising her on his own.

Matt returns home alone and is later told at work by Howard that he is being promoted and Matt is being recommended for Howard's old job. He is thankful, even though this means he might be seeing Maddy even less. Even Jordan and Oscar see that her absence is making Matt feel worse. While going through her room, he finds the necklace of Liz's Maddy had been desperately searching for earlier. When Matt and Oscar are in the airport to head to Croatia for the job, he can't stop thinking about Maddy and decides to bail on the trip to return to her. She hugs her dad and he gives her the necklace. When it is time to go, he bids farewell to Marion and Mike, the former tearing up as she mentions how happy Matt made Liz.

Matt and Maddy then to go Lizzie's where he apologizes. She forgives him and agrees to join him and Maddy for ice cream.

During the credits, Matt brings Maddy back to school, where they are allowing her to wear jeans, and he shows up in a skirt to make her feel better.



In May 2015, it was announced Channing Tatum would star in and produce the film, based upon a memoir by Matthew Logelin, with TriStar Pictures distributing.[2] In January 2019, it was reported Kevin Hart would replace Tatum as the lead, with Paul Weitz directing from a screenplay he wrote alongside Dana Stevens.[3] In May 2019, Melody Hurd and Alfre Woodard were set to star opposite Hart.[4][5] In June 2019, Anthony Carrigan, Lil Rel Howery, Paul Reiser and Deborah Ayorinde also joined the cast of the film, which had been moved to Columbia Pictures.[6][7] In July 2019, DeWanda Wise was also added.[8] Principal Photography for the film began in 2019 in Boston,Massachusetts & Montreal,Quebec


Fatherhood was initially scheduled to be released in theaters on April 3, 2020,[9] but on January 6, 2020, it was delayed to January 8, 2021.[10] Later that year, it was pushed back a week to January 15, 2021. On March 30, 2020, it was brought forward to October 23, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[11] On April 24, 2020, it was delayed to April 2, 2021,[12][13] and on November 19, 2020, it was delayed again to April 16, 2021.[14]

It was then announced that Netflix had acquired the worldwide distribution rights (except China) to the film from Sony Pictures Releasing, and set it for streaming release on June 18, 2021.[15] The film was the most-watched item on the service in its first weekend.[16] A week after its release, Netflix reported the film was on track to by watched by 61 million households through its first month of release.[17]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 66% based on 70 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Fatherhood offers few surprises, but strong work from a smartly assembled cast gives this fact-based story real emotional resonance."[18] According to Metacritic, which assigned a weighted average score of 53 out of 100 based on 18 critics, the film received "mixed or average reviews."[19]

William Bibbiani of the TheWrap praised Hart's "confidently laid-back and affable lead performance," and wrote, "Perhaps a little too slight to be memorable in the long run, this sensitive and charming tale reassures without, somehow, completely ignoring reality."[20] From The Hollywood Reporter, Lovia Gyarkye called the film "both an effective star vehicle and a tender tearjerker," and said, "Hart, usually known for his comedy... embraces a more dramatic side here, and is surprisingly convincing in these moments."[1]

Prathyush Parasuraman of Film Companion wrote, "Kevin Hart centers the film based on Matthew Logelin’s memoir Two Kisses For Maddy: A Memoir Of Loss & Love with a compassionate gaze."[21]


  1. ^ a b c Gyarkye, Lovia (June 16, 2021). "Kevin Hart in Netflix's 'Fatherhood': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 16, 2021. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  2. ^ McNary, Dave (May 29, 2015). "Channing Tatum and Sony to Make 'Two Kisses for Maddy'". Variety. Archived from the original on January 9, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Lang, Brent (January 18, 2019). "Kevin Hart to Star in Paul Weitz's 'Fatherhood'". Variety. Archived from the original on December 22, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  4. ^ Sneider, Jeff (May 16, 2019). "Exclusive: Kevin Hart's Sony Dramedy 'Fatherhood' Finds Its Young Lead". Collider. Archived from the original on June 21, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  5. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 23, 2019). "Alfre Woodard Joins Kevin Hart In 'Fatherhood' Drama At Sony". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 13, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  6. ^ Kit, Borys (June 13, 2019). "'Barry' Breakout Anthony Carrigan Joins Kevin Hart in Drama 'Fatherhood' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 14, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (June 28, 2019). "Lil Rel Howery, Paul Reiser, & Deborah Ayorinde Join Sony's Kevin Hart-Led 'Fatherhood' Film". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 11, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  8. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 2, 2019). "'She's Gotta Have It' Star DeWanda Wise Boards 'Fatherhood' Film At Sony". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 2, 2019. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  9. ^ Nissen, Dano (June 28, 2019). "'Cinderella' Musical Comedy, Kevin Hart's 'Fatherhood' Get Release Dates". Variety. Archived from the original on April 4, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  10. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony; Pederson, Erik (January 6, 2020). "Kevin Hart's 'Fatherhood' Moves Back Eight Months To January 2021". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 6, 2020. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  11. ^ Stedman, Adam; McNary, Dave (March 30, 2020). "'Morbius,' 'Ghostbusters' Sequel and More Sony Movies Pushed Back to 2021". Variety. Archived from the original on December 15, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  12. ^ Bean, Travis (April 24, 2020). "'Spider-Man 3' And 'Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse 2' Get New Release Dates". Forbes. Archived from the original on April 25, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  13. ^ "Uncharted Movie Release Date Pushed up to July 2021 - IGN". Archived from the original on 2020-04-23. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
  14. ^ "Monster Hunter Movie Moves Up Release Date". Archived from the original on 2020-12-01. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  15. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 4, 2021). "Kevin Hart Sony Drama 'Fatherhood' Heading To Netflix For Summer Release". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 4, 2021. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  16. ^ "'Fatherhood' Soars at Netflix, 'Misfits' Clicks as VOD Premiere". 21 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Netflix Says Kevin Hart's 'Fatherhood' Will Be Seen in 61 Million Households in First Four Weeks". Variety. June 26, 2021. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  18. ^ "Fatherhood (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  19. ^ "Fatherhood Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  20. ^ Bibbiani, William (June 16, 2021). "'Fatherhood' Film Review: Kevin Hart Parenting Tale Avoids Artificiality". TheWrap. Archived from the original on June 16, 2021. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  21. ^ Parasuraman, Prathyush (18 June 2021). "Fatherhood On Netflix Is A Sweet, Surface-Level Stab At Grief And Single Parenthood". Archived from the original on June 19, 2021. Retrieved June 18, 2021.

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