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The Father Factor

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Cloudy with a chance of .... fatherhood?

In the last few years, a number of animated movies with very strong fatherhood themes have been released. Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, The Princess and the Frog, and Up, to name a few. I just got around to watching Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs over the weekend, and it can be added to that list.

I am not sure what is going on here, but I am sure there is something going on here. It seems nearly every animated film deals, at some level, with "daddy issues," even if only as a side note.

My theory is that most of the men responsible for bringing these films to the screen are themselves fathers of young children - guys aged between 25 and 45 - and they are "living" this fatherhood thing day in and day out. Naturally, when they go to their typewriter to write a screenplay, or to the storyboard to create a character, fatherhood is foremost in their minds.

As for Cloudy, the best scene in the movie, in my view, is the "fatherhood moment" near the end. I won't give anything away for those who haven't seen it yet, but the scene really gives the entire film meaning. Much like fatherhood does for life. Either for good or for ill, fatherhood tends to be a life-defining institution that instills meaning in everything we do.

We either reflect fondly or sadly on our own relationships with our fathers. And when we become fathers ourselves, it brings joy, pain, or both into our lives. It is not surprising that the most creative among us - these filmmakers - are starting to see the storytelling potential of such a powerful institution.

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