An award winning festival film, I Love My Dad is about an estranged father who decides the only way to get his relationship back with his son is to catfish him pretending to be his girlfriend but it’s only a matter of time before his desperate attempts begin to backfire as his son wants to meet her (him!) in person.
The son, Franklin (James Morosini), is not in a good place. He’s seeking group therapy for his suicidal thoughts, revealing he’s blocked his dad, Chuck (Patton Oswalt) from his social media contacts as he’s had enough of his lying and broken promises. His dad meanwhile is distraught he’s been cut off by his son and is now even more concerned about his welfare. Opening up to a sweet waitress at a diner Chuck comes up with the idea to create an online profile of the waitress (Claudia Sulewski), to get in contact with his son online. This is clearly frowned upon not least by his colleague (Lil Rel Howery) who tells him in plain English, “This is the creepiest s***t I’ve ever seen.” But Chuck continues undeterred fastidiously putting together the profile and some how manages to friend his son on Facebook posing as a pretty lone girl on the internet looking to make a connection with someone. His son’s early scepticism soon disappears because of the ease in which he is able to communicate with Becca – who is in fact of course his dad.
They get along great chatting online, sharing the same interests and as the feelings grow for one another so does the cringe factor as the son starts to talk more intimately online with his father. There are some obvious stages of a relationship that his dad can’t keep avoiding, firstly actually speaking over the phone, which he manages to get around by persuading his partner to call up as ‘Becca’ on the phone. It isn’t before too long that his son wants to meet her in person, something his dad is desperately trying to avoid so he can keep the relationship going. All the while things are getting more awkward and likely to be leading to messing up his son far more than he was in the first place.
With the strapline, “Inspired by a true story. Like, this literally happened to me.” It’s a story so twisted and dark it would be hard to imagine a loving father wanting to do this in real life without a majorly dark sense of humour. The fact that it is written, directed and acted by the son, James Morosini, provides an empathetic handling of this messed up virtual relationship that is handled with great humour and sensitivity. The relationship is brilliantly played out in the film using the characters’ avatars as they chat online to one another. So when Franklin is speaking to ‘Becca’ online, even though it’s actually his dad doing the typing, we see her and hear her voice sat next to him as they chat, providing a real sense of the intimacy and creepiness going on. This reaches a climatic crescendo when they start sexting each other with the cringe factor reaching another level altogether.
I Love My Dad will be available on Digital Download from 23rd January 2023
Film: I Love My Dad
Director: James Morosini
Stars: Patton Oswalt, James Morosini, Claudia Sulewski
Run time: 1hr 36mins