Fatherhood, Kevin Heart’s Netflix movie, is based on a true story: Matthew Logelin’s memoir Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love.
The Kevin Hart movie Fatherhood is based on a true story — but how accurate is it to real life? Adapted from Matthew Logelin’s memoir Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love, the dramedy deals with the emotional story of Logelin who lost his wife a day after she gave birth to their daughter, Maddy. Thrust into fatherhood all the while processing his grief, Matthew tries his best to raise Maddy on his own, while juggling his ambitions, leading to an emotional and hilarious romp through single parenting.
Netflix released Fatherhood in June 2021, coinciding with Father’s Day. The film was praised for equally balancing the comedic and dramatic elements of Logelin’s unique and tragic story. Kevin Hart, best known for playing zany, loud-mouthed characters, was applauded for flexing his acting chops by taking on a grounded and mature role, as well as his adorable chemistry with Fatherhood co-star Melody Hurd. Before the film’s release, fans of the memoir thought that the comedic Kevin Hart would strip away the book’s emotional backbone, but that was far from the case. Oftentimes when adapting memoirs, key elements and details are shifted to accommodate the technicalities of the screenplay, such as runtime and the need for conflict. The Paul Weitz-directed Fatherhood was no different as changes were made for the benefit of the cinematic experience but the end product was surprisingly faithful to the source material.
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Fatherhood is a mostly authentic adaptation of Matthew Logelin’s memoir, with only a few changes that help accommodate the screenplay. In a recent interview with USA Today, the author revealed that the biggest change in the Paul Weitz-directed adaptation is the relationship between Matthew and his mother-in-law. In the film, the Kevin Hart character gets a hard time from his mother-in-law, played by Alfree Woodard. Matthew’s mother-in-law constantly nags Logelin for his (at first) poor parenting skills, doubting him for most of the film’s runtime. In actuality, Matthew’s real-life mother-in-law wasn’t as overbearing and was far more supportive than the version seen in the Netflix film. The change was made to help create conflict and tension for Hart’s character that extended beyond the difficulties of solo parenting.
Another change that differs from the memoir is how Matthew Logelin meets Lizzie Molyneux, his eventual love interest. In the Kevin Hart film, Matthew and DeWanda Wise’s Lizzie are set up by a couple of friends. The real Matthew and Lizzie, however, met on an airplane and their relationship wasn’t as rocky as depicted in the Netflix film. A minor change was setting the film in Boston. In actuality, Logelin raised his daughter in California and India.
Beyond those changes, almost all of the Netflix film is authentic to Matthew Logelin’s book, including some of the more emotional and hilarious moments. The details and depiction of Liz Logelin’s death are based on reality: she collapsed and passed away from pulmonary embolism the day after giving birth to Maddie. The major emotional and comedic beats after that were largely accurate as well. One example of a comedic moment that made it onto the screen included the hilarious moment when Kevin Hart and Lil Rel Howery’s characters try to feed Maddie at a basketball game with a make-shift bottle. Other moments that existed on the page and were transferred to the screen include the scene where Hart’s character crashes a New Moms support group to get some advice. All in all, the Netflix original did a great job of staying authentic to Matthew Logelin’s memoir while also making minor changes to help make the adaptation more compelling for audiences at home.
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