Writer, director, and actor James Morosini delivers one of the strongest movies of 2022 thus far that will certainly be a conversation starter for award season. I Love My Dad is one of the most uncomfortable viewings audiences will experience since Uncut Gems but has so much heart and passion in its story that it is impossible not to fall in love with the movie. Movies are meant to extract all forms of reactions and emotions from their audience, and when a story centers on a father-son relationship, and one that is so fractured it almost appears to be beyond repair, when you throw in that cringe element of storytelling, the movie evokes all forms of reactions and emotions. I Love My Dad is heartbreaking, disturbing, and downright menacing, but one of the most endearing movies even if it features one of the most irredeemable characters of all time.
The movie focuses on Franklin (James Morosini) who has a brush with self-inflicted harm and is brought into therapy to make sure he, is first and foremost okay, and is no longer considering hurting himself. Franklin’s mom, played by Amy Landecker, divorced his dad, Chuck (Patton Oswalt), and this appears to have fractured the relationship between Franklin and Chuck. Chuck is also terribly distanced from Franklin and is never there for his son, which leads Franklin to start ignoring his dad’s calls and blocking him on Facebook. With no clear line of communication to his son, and being a concerned albeit removed father, Chuck decides to catfish his son by creating a fake Facebook account based on the waitress at the local diner, Becca (Claudia Sulewski). While this is an admirable attempt to reconnect with his son, Chuck’s decision to catfish his own son with an attractive female is the cringiest, most uncomfortable decision he could’ve made.
I Love My Dad never shies away from the cringe of the entire concept of our leading man, Franklin, developing a relationship with Becca, who his father is masquerading as. It is one of the most uncomfortable experiences audiences could have with a movie that is going to make them want to crawl out of their skin, however, the pay off and journey is so moving and is made with such love that it is worthy of your attention and admiration. However, before discussing the magnificent performance from James Morosini, the direction and writing must be acknowledged here. Instead of telling the story of someone being catfished and having them constantly be texting back and forth and trying to create an interesting dynamic that way, Morosini interjects Becca into scenes and moments she isn’t physically present in, creating a more invested back and forth and a stronger atmosphere, allowing their chemistry to shine and develop throughout the film.
James Morosini has one of the hardest tasks in the film having to direct, write, and star in his feature and, while doing so, brings an incredible performance to the forefront. His portrayal of Franklin who is going through the ringer between the self-harm, losing his father, and now unknowingly being catfished, is truly heartbreaking and moving. Patton Oswalt, who gives a tour de force performance, a defining moment of his cinematic career, is at the absolute best audiences have seen him at. His performance, while filled with dread by his actions are truly inspirational and moving. His actions are irresponsible, unheard of, and rather disturbing, but the heart and love behind the actions are somethings that cannot be ignored. His love for his son and desire to make sure he is okay is truly admirable, but the way he goes about it shows how desperate he is, and truly evokes such passion and emotion from his performance that it will break the audience. I Love My Dad brings such powerhouse performances from its main cast, a heartbreaking story, and an undeniable love to the forefront that audiences will be thinking about and haunted by the movie for years to come.
I Love My Dad deserves…no, demands your attention. It will evoke emotions that have been muddled inside of its audience, with performances that are nothing shy of exquisite. Everything in this feature proves that James Morosini is a name that should be on your radar for years to come, as this talent cannot be missed.
Screening during the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.
SXSW Screening Information:
*Saturday, March 12th, Screening @ 1:30pm CT, Alamo Lamar D
*Sunday, March 13th, On-line Screening @ 9:00 am CT
*Sunday , March 13th, Screening @ 9:00 am CT, Violet Crown Cinema 1
Sunday , March 13th, Screening @ 9:00 am CT, Violet Crown Cinema 3
*Friday, March 18th, Screening @ 3:45 pm CT, Zach Theatre
For more information, head to the official SXSW webpage.
Final Score: 5 out of 5.