A few weeks ago I wrote a post on A Documentary on Dads. It was on the up coming documentary, “The Evolution of Dad” by Dana H. Glazer. Shortly after that post, I was contacted by The Evolution of Dad and offered a screening of the full documentary. As a father (and blogger) how could I say no to that? So I didn’t. After watching the full documentary, I thought it only fair to update you with my thoughts and reactions to this much welcomed film. Needless to say, as a father, I found it very encouraging and very accurate to the everyday decisions I have to make to put my family first. One of the fathers even echoed my own motto, “I enjoy what I do, but I love my family!” Before we get into the details though, here is the introduction for the film to help set the stage. Remember, the full documentary is available Tomorrow, May 18th, 2010.
The Evolution of Dad: Introduction
A General Look:
Over all The Evolution of Dad does a fantastic job of looking at the history of fatherhood. It quickly moves into our modern culture while not ignoring the steps that got us here. It covers the gamut from pre-industrial revolution homesteads, the emotional damage done during the Great Depression and the modern success culture that fuels our fortune 500 companies. Its title, The Evolution of Dad, does it justice.
Once the viewer is caught up to about the 1990’s the film shifts and looks more at the composition of a father as well as our cultural and social views around fatherhood. Below are just a few of the topics the film grapples with:
- Stay at home fathers – pros and cons
- Parenting styles between fathers and mothers
- Home / work balance and the pressures of the corporate ladder
- Working fathers growing involvement at home
- Encumbering Social / governmental policies
- Various alternative work arrangements
- The next generation – were our culture is headed
As you can see there is quite a bit covered. The documentary does a great job exploring these topics from multiple angles over the course of its 94 minutes. As a father I found myself often resonating with the interviewee’s, struggles, choices and joys. Let’s look at some specifics.
What I liked:
Over all the film was very well thought out, organized and presented. I caught myself often thinking, “That is exactly right,” and, “Yep, I have dealt with that.” I should not be surprised, the documentary was birthed out of Dana’s own experience as a stay at home father. Without going into great detail, here are a few items that I really enjoyed and felt were presented exceptionally well:
- The historical look at the role of a father
- Questioning the stereotypical father role
- The accurate depiction of the epic Work vs. Home battle
- The conclusion that the fathers parenting style is not wrong, just different
- Bringing to light the disconnect between what we, as a society, say we believe and what we show we believe.
- The openness and candidness of the interviews
- Showing the importance of a male role model regardless of it being a father or not
There is an awful lot to like in this documentary and not just for fathers. One concept in particular, which I have actually used at home, is the, “Will it kill them test.” Curious exactly how that test works? Well watch the documentary and find out. Humor aside, Dana does a fantastic job isolating the pressures: cultural, social and personal, placed on Dads everywhere. He also captures the trade-offs and sacrifices fathers are often faced with. Fatherhood is rarely black and white. This documentary helps us all understand why.
What I Didn’t:
As I said, there is a lot to like in this film. However, it isn’t perfect (very few things are). I would not be doing my job if I didn’t at least issue the following minor warnings:
- It doesn’t come out and say it but there is a strong notion that gender roles are strictly learned. I believe that fathers can, should, and are doing much more at home then in the past but I don’t believe the roles of a mother and father can be interchanged. Their tasks, sure, but not their roles.
- The candid interviews have some crude language. It is masked out, but there none-the-less.
- There is an obvious bias toward the acceptance of the stay at home father (I don’t know that this is actually bad). To some point this is expected. It is, after all, a documentary on fatherhood by a former stay at home father. This is minor, but it did stand out to me.
Overall, these few negatives in The Evolution of Dad are mostly minor and do not distract from the overall impact. The documentary does a splendid job of guiding the viewer through the complexities of men and their role as fathers. I appreciate the work Dana and his crew have put into this and hope them the best in influencing our culture for the better. If you are a father pulled between work and home you should watch this. If you are a wife seeking to better understand the man you married you should watch this. If you are just getting started on the parenthood road (mom or dad) you should take the time to watch this. Okay, okay, everyone should watch this. If for no other reason then to simply start conversations about what it means to be a father in our day and age and if we are doing everything we can to support our families.
Well done Dana! Thank you!