Movie Review: 'Like Father' (2018)

Many of us watch movies to take an emotional journey and “Like Father” takes viewers on precisely that. Our story picks up on the wedding day of job-addicted Rachel (Kristen Bell), who unbeknownst to her can count her estranged father, Harry (Kelsey Grammer), as a guest to her nuptials. The thing is, what Harry has attended hoping it will be the happiest day of his daughter’s life, turns out to be everything but.

At the time Rachel is supposed to be focusing on her soon-to-be-husband (aka the man she is preparing to commit to for the rest of her life), she repeatedly fixates on her true love: work. Fed up, her fiancรฉe decides not to go through with the marriage, leaving Rachel at the altar after one especially painful development. Taking no personal accountability, Rachel sinks into self-pity, and a semi-breakdown.

Harry decides to reach out to his daughter, and the two end up getting so drunk, Rachel invites her father along for her now-former honeymoon cruise. What ensues is a lot of situational comedy and dramatic moments that pull at the heartstrings. You also get to go on a luxury cruise without leaving the comfort of your living room. All said, “Like Father” is an equally fun and moving experience.

The script is rife with strong material, its only drawback being how unlikable Rachel is. While every other character is exceptionally endearing -- she is not. It takes too long for her to finally open up, and stop acting cruelly, and when she finally does, Rachel only becomes likable for short bursts of time. Her self-centeredness is extraordinarily off-putting, and the movie is honest in the fact, a luxury cruise cannot cure personalities.

Kristen Bell has the task of making Rachel watchable, and she admirably succeeds. As Rachel's introspective and quietly heartbreaking father, Kelsey Grammer phenomenally contributes to making “Like Father” the memorable gem that it is. Grammer brings his trademark gravitas to the role of a haunted soul seeking forgiveness, masterfully bringing a character that is not entirely sympathetic on the script’s surface to charismatic life.

This is what movies are supposed to do, challenge, probe, and make one listen when they would usually close their hearts. As a father/daughter film, director Lauren Miller Rogen delivers an emotional journey that is funny, sweet, touching, and entertaining. Bell and Grammer make for a believable father/daughter team that experience moving highs and lows that hit with sincerity. Meanwhile, the supporting cast of characters that get involved in their relationship are all tremendous.

These are the traveling companions, we all wish to encounter. They add depth to the film, and you can feel it. When it comes to the tender dramedy, there is no denying its charm. “Like Father” has moments that make a smile spread across one’s face with abandon. It is often brimming with that amount of genuine emotion. This is one movie trip, well worth taking.

Rating: 8/10

[Featured Image by Netflix]