I Love My Dad is the surprising true story of how writer, director and lead actor James Morosini was catfished by his dad into giving him a second chance.
I Love My Dad teeters the line between father-son drama and absurdist humour in a way that I’m yet to see done as perfected as it is demonstrated by Morosini.
I Love My Dad was screened as part of the London Film Festival 2022. All words of this review were written entirely by the writers at Cinamore.
Though based on James’ life, in his self-directed feature he is Franklin, a depressed coder who has previously attempted to take his own life and blocks every attempt of his father trying to reach out.
Chuck, Franklin’s father played charmingly by Patton Oswalt seeks retribution and, after taking advice from a coworker, creates a fake Facebook account named after a server from his local diner, Becca (Claudia Sulewski) in order to stay connected to his estranged and troubled son.
Over the course of their digital messaging Franklin spots numerous red flags that Chuck tries to navigate under the guise of trying to get back close to his son.
Achieving this surrealism with Sulewski’s Becca present with Franklin when he receives messages, reading them how Franklin wants to intend them, with the way in which the message is crafted clearly being from an outdated man, which as a visual gimmick, works brilliantly throughout showing the way in which intention and reception are easily confused.
Conceptually the premise of I Love My Dad is an awful uncomfortable idea that I am of no question has been done to more people than just Morosini, but, what he manages in this feature is to manipulate expertly the emotions of cringe, comedy, and forgiveness.
Instinctively, the idea of blurring boundaries and ignoring people’s wishes in order to fulfil your own god complex is what Morosini leans into, however, as his role of Franklin acclimatises himself to the situation, the conversation could be argued as therapy for the reclused son.
Closely reminiscent of Beautiful Boy for a father that would push boundaries for his son’s health, the juxtaposition of a father trying to delicately handle his son’s mental state with the nonsensical nature of their catfishing relationship culminates into a ramped-up cringe comedy that delivers its emotional punch.
Chuck is was supported further when roping in his girlfriend, Erica (Saturday Night Live’s Ratchel Dratch) to speak on the phone to pertain to the illusion which descends into an unforgiving traumatic nightmare that no one wishes to endure knowing it is their family on the other end.
I Love My Dad understands the significance of telling a great comedy. To imagine the scenario as a dial, and slowly turn it until the characters are left squirming in the conditions they conducted.
More importantly, though, it understands the weight any parent can have over their child and the burden that goes along with it when things go askew.
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