The Forgiving, Fulfilling Father-Daughter Films of 2018

The first time I watched Toy Story 2 with my dad, he rose from the couch abruptly to get a glass of water. Jessie, the cowgirl doll, was singing “When She Loved Me,” the bittersweet backstory of her previous owner’s love and the memories they shared, ending with the child outgrowing her and ultimately giving Jessie away to charity in a cardboard box. As I fumbled to pause it so my dad wouldn’t miss anything, I heard a quiet sob from the kitchen. Silence. Then another. I set the remote down; not fully understanding, I let the film keep playing.

While the past few years have helped bring complex and dizzying portraits of women and mothers to the forefront, I am simultaneously and inevitably drawn to the softness and generosity of onscreen father-daughter relationships in 2018. Whether in a tensely-plotted thriller like Searching or A Quiet Place, or a tender, thoughtful character study like Eighth Grade or Leave No Trace, the bond between father and daughter not only helps drive plot, but allows viewers to understand the characters and the ways they acknowledge one another more richly. After all, aren’t love, and paying attention the same thing?

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How the Perfect Song Lifts a Film’s Spirit

This piece is by our guest writer Cat Sullivan.

In 1996, the musical comedy-drama That Thing You Do! debuted at No. 3, in no small part due to director and screenwriter Tom Hanks at the helm. Its success was unsurprising, chronicling the fun and freewheeling story of one-hit wonder pop band The Wonders, whose name and musical style was loosely inspired on the Beatles. And if you’re going to make a movie about a one-hit wonder, you’d better make sure the song is a genuine hit.

According to IMDb, the song “That Thing You Do” is heard eleven times in the movie, including full versions, alternative versions, live versions, and snippets. Will audiences get sick of it? Maybe. But will it be stuck in their heads for days after they leave the theater? Well, that’s the goal. To truly buy the band’s ultimate success – and root for them along the way – the music, and more specifically the titular song, must be good. It’s as simple as that.

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