A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A family whose members had drifted apart start to bond and become close again as the elderly patriarch of the family learns to live his remaining days to the absolute fullest while battling cancer and the onset of dementia. Elderly portrayed with dignity.
Positive Role Models
The title character of the movie has an epiphany in his final days in which he aims to live each day to the fullest, and to make the most of his time with his wife, his kids, and his grandson. His oldest son, a control freak who had put his career in front of everything else, learns the importance of family.
Violence & Scariness
Some peril, in and out of the hospital, as an elderly man suffers dementia that finds him hiding under the bed, shaking in fear.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Elderly woman complains of how her husband now wants to have sex all the time.
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Infrequent mild profanity: "s--t," "goddamn," "damn," "piss," "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Character mentions McDonald's and Wendy's by name as potential dinner ideas for her family.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine drinking at dinner.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dad is a 1989 movie about a career-centered son who returns home to assist his dying father and reconnect with his parents, siblings, and son. The elderly parents -- portrayed by Jack Lemmon and Olympia Dukakis -- are given a dignity and respect not often afforded to the elderly. The movie is a comment on life and death, family, relationships, and what all of this means and what's important in the big picture. The father suffers from the onset of dementia and senility -- his suffering and its impact on his family is rendered in a way that some might find relatable and others might find emotionally difficult to take. Some occasional mild profanity: "s--t," "piss," "goddamn," "hell." It's a tearjerker dramedy written and directed by the creator of the classic 1980s sitcom Family Ties; those familiar with that show will see similarities in style and humor between this movie and some of the more "very special episodes" of that program. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is another example of Jack Lemmon's limitless and broad acting talents, but also much more. A tearjerker written and directed by the creator of Family Ties -- those familiar with that classic '80s sitcom will see the similarities in style and story -- Dad fearlessly explores life and death and the meaning of it all, what it means to be a family, the cycle of life, and the ups and downs of relationships. The stresses and difficulties in being a caretaker for a parent is shown in detail, as well as the difficulties in comprehending the onset of dementia and senility in the elderly. And yet, whereas so many elderly characters in movies and TV are little more than stereotypical punch lines lazily tossed out with no respect, this movie brings a dignity, grace, and humor to aging and the aged.
It's an all-star cast -- besides Lemmon, Ted Danson, and Olympia Dukakis, there is a young Ethan Hawke and a mustachioed Kevin Spacey -- who bring the depth, grace, and humor that this story and characters need. They eschew smug cynicism and Hallmark Channel sentimentality for something deeper. Even as the endings to the secondary stories feel a little too conveniently tied up and resolved, it's still a solid movie with universal themes, nearly forgotten decades later, but worth a look.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.