Parenthood by Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind) is one of my favourite films from my childhood. There is a chance that it was the first film that I was allowed to see by my parents that has swear words featured in it. Essentially it’s an adult film exploring issues surrounding parenting although most of that probably flew over my head as a kid. I was probably more interested in the infamous ‘diarrhoea’ song and other instances of vulgar gags. In fact, it was rather off putting that I remembered so many lines from the film because I found myself muttering different lines seconds before they were said thus taking me out of the film. Of course, this isn’t the film’s fault at all. The story is primarily centered around Gil Buckman (Steve Martin) whose struggle with his growing dysfunctional family is causing him troubles at work. A large portion of the film however is spent glimpsing at the struggling lives of Gil’s relatives, often focusing on their different attempts to raise their children. From Helen Buckman (Dianna West) a single mother struggling to connect with her son (played by Joaquin Phoenix apparently; see below) and her daughter who is growing up too fast, to Nathan Huffner (Rick Moranis) a father attempting to make his daughter a child prodigy. How Joaquin Phoenix has aged. Having not seen the film for many years, I was slightly worried that it wouldn’t hold up very well however I was pleasantly surprised. The film succeeds as both a comedy and a drama featuring some great laughs and some heart breaking moments. But for me, the film does more then that. The messages that Ron Howard presents on parenting are so universally understandable and at times incredibly poignant and sentimental. So many issues are brought into question. What should a parent do if their child is labelled as ‘special’? How can a parent help a child that won’t talk? When should a parent stop helping when their child constantly finds trouble? But the main message of the film is to show that every child is different, every family is different and there is no right answer to any of these questions. Matt.