August 18, 2008

Fatherhood on Film

Of course, the theme of fatherhood is pretty common in literature and on film. And it definitely weaves in and out of the Lawton Chiles story, as politics becomes a family pastime just like Scrabble or baseball in the backyard and going to hear the politicos speak means going to cheer on Dad.

Filmmaker Oliver Stone is well-known for exploring the "dueling fathers" theme in Platoon and Wall Street. I actually haven't seen the former film but from what I've read before, it's the same basic premise of a young man torn between two father figures. One might be a biological father and one might be a "found" father. Wall Street ends with a pretty firm decision to stick with blood family, but the fight to get leaves enough scars that things probably won't ever be the same for Bud Fox.

But what I've noticed is that when you push the slightest bit, even seemingly oddball film choices have comments on fatherhood and "false" fatherhood. The last exchange between Colin and Frank in The Departed gives that away clearly.

Even in supposedly light but mega-popular fair like Batman Begins, the memories of a lost father and a heavy legacy haunt Bruce Wayne through his maturity to young adulthood. The film's score composers even devised a musical cue for these moments since there is little or no dialogue to explore it. It's a moving piece. And the visual cue--Bruce's father's stethoscope.

And when it does come up in these unexpected places, I think it adds a little depth to the movie that makes it harder to forget even after multiple viewings.

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