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This is a very powerful documentary that all need to see. Even though the subjects in the film are African-American fathers who have suffered emotional and punitive damages from the child support system, any father who is emotionally invested in his children who has dealt with this type of issue is bound to benefit and appreciate the message.
This documentary has the effect of high octane emotional roller coaster. The sensitivity, yet fierce impact of the subjects, are unforgettable. The film deals with a longstanding issue of the devastating effects of the unsympathetic child support system on African-American families which ends up devaluing, and more often than not, eradicating, the presence of the father in the household. There is also an eye opening barbershop scene that you won't see coming. Absolutely a must-see for the "woke" mind.
Writer/director Rel Dowdell has made two previous films, both narrative features, each of which tackle relevant social issues that largely pertain to the urban community. With his third feature, Dowdell continues to put an emphasis on relevant social issues, but for the first time the filmmaker is doing so through the format of a documentary feature. In Where's Daddy? Dowdell sets out to investigate and discover the root cause of the child support issue in America-what people's problems are with it, how it is failing at its purpose, and how it can be improved. Furthermore, Dowdell goes one step further and asks the even tougher questions of why the government has intervened in such private affairs at all? Why are single mothers raising multiple children is such an epidemic? Dowdell focuses in on the black community in his hometown of Philadelphia in what he hopes to resemble a piece of the larger problem that is plaguing both the American courts system as well as societal stigmas that need to be reconfigured and altered as often times such stigmas are rendered untrue by the details of each case, but remain labeled or interpreted as such due to the broad rules of said system. As a thirty year-old white male who was raised in Arkansas, who was raised with both parents in the home, and who is now married with a three year-old daughter of my own I have no particular affiliation to or against the child support system. I don't know enough about it to hold a position on either side of the line and so if Where's Daddy? is nothing else it, at the very least, serves as an introductory course to this seeming injustice on many fronts that exists outside of my bubble. Dowdell's film paints a well-rounded portrait that attempts to elicit how many different sets of experiences can be had when it comes to a father not being able to make his court-ordered child support payments so that this notion of the punishment fitting the crime becomes present in this regard and not just the blanket punishment of jail time where it costs more to process these individuals than the total amount many of them are even behind on in their payments.
read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.com
I really enjoyed this documentary. I watched it several times to really take in what each subject was saying. Everyone's story was important and engrossing. Some stories were sad, some were funny, some were educational, but everyone was authentic and truthful. The film takes place in Philadelphia, but it could happen anywhere. The child support system affects many people the same way.
"Where's Daddy?" is a very important documentary not just for the African-American audience, but for all audiences who want to know about the pitfalls of the child support system and how it can decimate the family structure. This particular documentary gives significant attention to the plight of African-American males as the system pertains to them. The revelations shared are powerful, tragic, very emotional and real. Many do not know about the challenges many fathers have who want to be responsible, but never take into account the problems, seen and unforeseen, that can hinder them from being so. Excellent documentary.