Setting aside Louis C.K.’s public issues, arguably the film presents a rather interesting and timely conversation about women’s autonomy and consent.
|Writer(s)||Louis C.K. and Vernon Chatman|
|China||Chloë Grace Moretz|
China, when we meet her, is a 17-year-old girl who has been given such a privileged life by her father Glen, she really doesn’t know what to do with herself. So when introduced to Leslie, an alleged child molester, who we learn did mess around with a 15-year-old, takes notice of her and treats her like an adult, she becomes quite smitten. All of which, despite Glen’s love of Leslie’s work, makes him extremely uncomfortable. Thus leading to multiple conversations ranging from his exes Maggie and Aura, to peers like Ralph and Grace, how to take and handle this situation.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Why was China putting all the blame on Glen as if she, so it seems, didn’t spend a good amount of her life living with Aura?
Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs[…] girls want and expect a constant escalation throughout a relationship. A constant increase in devotion and favors. If you treat a girl better every day, she thinks nothing is changing. If you treat her the same throughout, she thinks it’s getting worse.
The Social Commentary
The key thing to this movie is trying to understand how and when women can give consent and also there is some play into the men’s responsibility if said consent is given but legally there is a moral issue. In I Love You, Daddy’s case, China is 17 and Leslie about 68. Thus creating a very uncomfortable dynamic since the age gap is so huge.
Yet, while it is assumed sex happens, John at best is touted as a watcher of young women. Now, whether he specifically goes after minors is hard to say. However, with him being with Grace while 15 and taking some interest in China who is 17, the pendulum leans to him living up to rumors that are whispered and circulated, but no one comes out about – sounds familiar?
And this is where the conversations come in. Grace presents a particularly interesting one about at what age does a girl, or woman, officially have the capacity to give consent? She becomes a woman sometime around 13 and then is expected to be on ice till 18? If not, just have sex with those under 18 who, unlike Leslie in her mind, are far more dangerous. Which, I know, is an odd thing to think about: Why do parents and the law prevent someone from having sex with someone over 18, even if consensual, but under 18 they can pretty much do as they please? But, lest we forget, this is a Louis C.K. production.
As anyone who is a fan, or was a fan since they don’t want any negative association now, of Louis C.K., would know, he addresses uncomfortable thoughts and conversations. Such as when should a girl, or woman, be considered in enough of a capacity to be able to provide consent? Is it truly just age, maybe mental or emotional intelligence, or capacity? Plus, what role can a parent really play in that? Are you going to have your daughter tested to see if she had intercourse? Heck, what about if it was a boy?
I mean, moving away from China, for just talking about it is making me uncomfortable, there is also what Grace represents. She is a single, unwed, mother to be, who throughout life enjoyed sex. This includes having sex with Leslie when 15 and he 50. Does this mean she was raped? Did he take advantage of her?
All of this I Love You, Daddy isn’t necessarily trying to make a statement about. If anything, like any production which tries to learn more towards being art than entertainment, it wants its audience to think. It wants you to think about your own prejudice and thoughts about an issue and discuss it with others. There is a hope that between conflicts and agreements, eventually there will be some form of understanding and yeah, it may be about a weird and uncomfortable topic, but it isn’t like this topic isn’t a problem.
After all, let’s not grace over the man’s responsibility in all this. Leslie may have been depicted as innocent with China, but what about Grace? Yeah, she may not have made a big deal out of it, nor seemingly her parents, but she was still 15 at the time. An age where, unless there is marriage involved, there isn’t any state in the USA in which he could bring up legal technicalities. But, again, Grace has no qualms about it. Leading to the question of whether she still could and should be seen as some sort of victim who was manipulated or perhaps not.
The only way you could justify Ralph in this movie is by saying he brings a push for Glen to realize his daughter isn’t likely that innocent anymore. Yet, considering he could be seen as a sort of uncle to China, him talking about her having sex in really vulgar ways, is creepy as hell. Though, on top of that, we really don’t even know what Ralph does with his life until nearly the end of the movie which also makes his presence annoying as hell.
On The Fence
Zasha is the sole person of color with a speaking role and isn’t even the generic Black best friend. At times, she damn near seems more like China’s personal assistant making sure she gets to parties, helping with her bags, and things like that vs. her best friend. Which only gets a side eye from me since the N word gets used for no good reason and doesn’t really get addressed.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
I watched this movie strictly as a fan of Louis C.K.’s work vs. taking note of his current controversy with sexual harassment and having that fully influence this advisory. So, with that in mind, I think I Love You Daddy seems like a story which Louis may have came up with for his stand up that evolved into something bigger. A story he wanted to explore past how he was feeling raising two girls who are getting older and older and his place, as a father is expected to do, in protecting them. Like, where is the line and really, what can or should he do?
And it is the exploration of that and the different perspectives from men and women which pushes this to be labeled positive. For while the acting, by no means, is award-worthy, it does present the type of conversations which had made Louis, the now-canceled TV show, something of interest to a lot of people.