As always, many will be horrified as much by the inclusions as by the omissions – this goes with the territory for a necessarily reductive approach to a large CV. This isn’t intended to be an analysis of Howard’s entire career, simply a few words of appreciation regarding some of his films which this writer at least considers to be among his best work. Rush is out on Blu-ray and DVD on the 27th of January.
Ask any parent, parenthood is tough. It can be a delight at times too. Parenthood the film is also a delight, but its main register is one of capturing those moments and seasons so accurately that you cannot help but smile, even if that smile is a wry one. Starting from the very first scene, with the kids being put to bed after an exciting but exhausting evening out and the little girl throwing up on Dad out of nothing other than tiredness. Sometimes all you want to do is just have a good cry and fall into bed. And that’s just the parents.
Steve Martin captures and sums up that incredible variety of experiences and emotions that parenthood entails – tiredness, exhilaration, heart-warming pride, exasperation, hope and despair. Expending yourself for your child’s birthday party and completely abandoning dignity and self-regard in celebrating your child’s successes. So many of the lines hit the nail on the head, whether it is this exchange:-
Karen: Do you really have to go?
Gil: My whole life is “have to.”
Or this excellent line:-
Tod: You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car – hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.
Parenthood is not an exercise in trying to show a none-more-gritty slice of real life – much of it is heightened, amplified and played for laughs, but there is an undercurrent of honesty and affection that leavens the more difficult moments and shows us that real life can be hard going, but it’s going to be alright.