Father’s Day is coming up and if you don’t have plans yet, the best option may be to have a Hispanic movie marathon! Numerous films reflect the enormous contribution that progenitors and father figures make to family life and society. From drama to comedy, movies have insightfully delved into the joys and challenges of fatherhood.
In my selection, I have included titles that show the father figure in an active, comforting, touching, and cheerful way. And my recommendations support the tenacious work being done by the Latino and Hispanic community in front of and behind the cameras in the film industry. Time to hit play!
Father of the Bride (2022)
We begin our Father’s Day list with the new version of Father of the Bride produced by HBO Max. The romantic comedy directed by Gaz Alazraki and written by Matt Lopez is the third film adaptation of Edward Streeter’s novel of the same name published in 1949. The 2022 version basically follows the same premise of the source material and the first two films (1950’s starring Spencer Tracy and 1991’s Steve Martin), but the big difference is that it focuses on Latino families.
The film begins with Billy Herrera (Andy Garcia) and his wife Ingrid (Gloria Estefan) attending couples therapy. After a year of struggling to rescue their relationship, the two decide it is time to separate. Just as their union falls apart, their daughter Sofía (Adriá Arjona) announces her wedding plans with Adán (Diego Boneta). Faced with such unexpected and exciting news, Billy and Ingrid decide to hide their separation until Sofia’s nuptials take place.
Billy Herrera embodies, with humor and a certain irony, the ups and downs of fatherhood. The Father of the Bride ingeniously captures the Latino wedding experience, delving into aspects such as clashes of cultures, inter-family conflicts, and the eternal tensions of wedding ceremonies. This film is made very special by the vibrant and colorful fusion of Cuban and Mexican cultures.
Father There Is Only One (2019)
Original title: Padre no hay más que uno
With: Santiago Segura, Toni Acosta, Silvia Abril, Leo Harlem, Anabel Alonso, Pepa Charro, Wendy Ramos
We continue our Father’s Day list with a Spanish film, written and directed by Santiago Segura and starring himself. Father There Is Only One is a witty remake of the Argentine comedy Mamá se fue de viaje released in 2017.
The film tells the story of Javier, a workaholic computer scientist and father of five children, who devotes most of his time to his profession. Javier believes he is the “perfect family man,” but he never gets too involved in taking care of the children, nor is he able to appreciate the housework done by his wife, Marisa. Then one day, his wife decides to travel with her sister-in-law and leave him in charge of the household so that he can understand firsthand the challenges of parenting.
The temporary absence of the mother is the perfect opportunity for the dad and the children to get to know and enjoy each other, practically for the first time. So, over the course of the film, Javier gradually and reluctantly learns to be a better father and husband.
This enthusiastic family comedy has two sequels, Padre no hay más que uno 2: La llegada de la suegra and Padre no hay más que uno 3 whose releases took place in 2020 and 2022 respectively.
Instructions Not Included (2013)
Original title: No se aceptan devoluciones
With: Eugenio Derbez, Jessica Lindsey, Loreto Peralta, Daniel Raymont
Instructions Not Included is a touching Mexican feature film starring, co-written, and directed by the multifaceted Eugenio Derbez and so it’s perfect for Father’s Day. The story follows Valentín Bravo (Eugenio Derbez), a roguish womanizer who enjoys his bachelorhood too much. However, his life takes an irreversible turn when he finds a baby on his doorstep and has to accept his new role as a dad. Against all odds, Valentín manages to become a loving, committed, and attentive parent. Instructions Not Included reaches its crisis point when the biological mother returns after years of absence and communicates that she now feels ready to regain custody of the child.
In his filmmaker debut, Derbez pulls off some wonderful scenes that reflect the unwavering efforts of an unlikely father. So far, this film has spun off into three popular adaptations: Demain tout commence (France), Sen Benim HerŞeyimsin (Turkey), and Não Se Aceitam Devoluções (Brazil).
Despicable Me (2010)
With: Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher
For those parents who enjoy animated titles, I included the hilarious feature film Despicable Me, which explores themes such as adoption, the role of the father, and the value of family. This film, which works equally well for children and adults, is based on the original idea of the Spanish animator and screenwriter Sergio Pablos, a noted collaborator on Disney classics such as Hercules and Tarzan.
The plot of Despicable Me revolves around a supervillain named Felonious Gru (Steve Carell), who is determined to regain the title of the most evil criminal on the planet. Gru is “evil incarnate,” a lifelong bad guy. However, things begin to change in his world when his path crosses with three orphan girls, Agnes, Marge, and Edith, who manage to conquer his heart.
Despicable Me underscores the value of fatherhood as a transformative experience and so is great Father’s Day viewing. Along the way, Felonious Gru will learn that being a dad brings more satisfaction than he ever imagined.