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4 classic parenting films

Features — Posted 28/11/14

The universal theme of child-raising is a hotbed of entertainment and inspiration.

Love it or hate it, Hollywood certainly gets some mileage out of family-themed films – and Steve Martin seems to have been waiting in the wings for most of them. From cult classics to their art-house counterparts, here’s a round-up of a few parenting film classics.  

1. Mrs Doubtfire (1993)

The theme of divorce and separation from your children is at the heart of the hilariously funny, moving film Mrs Doubtfire. While zany in the lengths dad Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) goes to in order to spend time with his children, the warmth and joy he gets from their presence and the loss of purpose he feels after leaving the family home is so very real. With such a multi-faceted role for such a gifted actor, it’s a treat to watch Williams on screen and this classic film will always be remembered.

2. Father of the Bride (1991)

From those nostalgic father/daughter bonding moments shooting hoops in the driveway, to the bamboozled George Banks (Steve Martin), getting carried along the wedding-planning journey by the hilarious planner Franck (Martin Short)hose father/daughter bonding sessions shooting hoops in the driveway, to the stereotypical p, this film’s clever script and wholesome humour is a cheesy, family winner. The reluctance to let go, the world of escalating wedding costs and the warmth of family are all very relatable, wonderfully-executed elements of the film.

3. Parenthood (1989)

This films covers plenty of ground when it comes to raising a family, from drugs to child prodigies, teenage pregnancies and divorce. It also brilliantly portrays the wacky world of families, with viewers left feeling reassured that there are others out there as crazy as their own. Steve Martin is brilliant as the do-anything dad, from sifting through rubbish for his son’s retainer to stepping in as the fill-in ‘Cowboy Dan’, and Dianne West’s tender, fragile performance is powerful, scoring her an Oscar nomination.

4. Babies (2010)

This French documentary follows the first year in the lives of four babies from around the world – Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo and San Francisco. Beautifully capturing the earliest stages of human life in four diverse landscapes, the film celebrates the triumph of babies as they grow and develop over its length. From Ponijao in Namibia, whose life begins on her family’s earth floor hut with sticks to play with, to Hattie and Mari’s first year in San Francisco and Tokyo, where baby yoga, shiny toys and singing classes are a way of life, the contrasts are fascinating.

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