The Dad We All Hope To Be (Father of the Bride 1991 Review)

Originally, this article was printed under the Disney Dads section of  My editor did a great job of tightening up this post and making it really fit well under the Disney Dads banner, but I thought you might enjoy the long version of it.  I especially love this opening monologue by George Banks (played by Steve Martin).

“She said I was her hero.”

“You fathers will understand. You have a little girl… an adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never have imagined. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine, how she used to love to sit on my lap and lean her head against my chest. She said I was her hero.                            

“Then the day comes when she wants to get her ears pierced and wants you to drop her off a block before the movie theatre. Next thing you know, she’s wearing eye shadow and high heels. From that moment on you’re in a constant state of panic. You worry about her going out with the wrong kind of guys, the kind of guys who only want one thing. And you know exactly what that one thing is because it’s the same thing you wanted when you were their age.                            

“Then she gets a little older, and you quit worrying about her meeting the wrong guy and you worry about her meeting the right guy. And that’s the biggest fear of all because… then you lose her. And before you know it, you’re sitting all alone in a big, empty house wearing rice on your tux, wondering what happened to your life.” – George Banks, Father of the Bride

“This is the moment I’ve been dreading for the past six months. Well, actually for the past 22 years.”

Truer words were never spoken. What father doesn’t have a little bit of George Banks in him? Or maybe a lot. If you have a daughter (or even if you don’t), this movie should be on the top of your list of “must see” movies. Dare yourself not to cry – either from rolling laughter or from moments that will pull on your heart. Either way, you are in for a treat. You know how some movies show you all the funniest and best parts in the trailer? Not so with this movie. To do that, the trailer would have to be 105 minutes long because the entire movie is terrific. Although the title might lead you to believe otherwise, this is a movie for fathers everywhere. Whether your daughter is four months old or forty years old, you’ll be able to relate to the emotional roller coaster that George is on from beginning to end.

George is the everyman. He isn’t a rock star, a superhero, a fighter coming back to fight one last battle – he’s a dad. An average dad with a house, a dog, two kids, a wife, and a white picket fence – literally. While he likes his job, you can tell that his passion is his family. So when his daughter, Annie, returns home from a trip to Europe with the shocking news that she’s engaged, George’s whole world gets turned upside down.   When you add Franck (not Frank) and Howard to the mix, George goes into emotional overdrive until he breaks down in the grocery store. When the store manager asks him what he is doing, George calmly tells him, “I want to buy eight hot dogs and eight hot dog buns to go with them. But no one sells eight hot dog buns. They only sell twelve hot dog buns… So I am removing the superfluous buns.” (Interesting side note: this was true when the movie came out back in 1991. Today of course most packages come in sets of eight. Perhaps because of this movie?) Eventually, George comes back down to earth because more than anything he wants for his little girl to be happy. And isn’t that we all want as fathers? For our kids to be happy?

“Welcome to the 90’s Mr. Banks!”

Filled with a star-studded cast featuring the legendary Steve Martin and his equally accomplished co-star, Diane Keaton, this comedy hit has endured the years with its classic tale of fatherhood. Itself a remake of the 1950 film of the same name starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor, this modern version had the benefit of a pair of hilarious wedding coordinators, Franck played by Martin Short and his assistant Howard (BD Wong) whose addition to the cast was a perfect foil for the straight-laced George. The bride, George’s daughter Annie, was portrayed by the lovely Kimberly Williams who did a wonderful job making Annie out as a strong, independent young woman ready for the next phase of her life.

We all want to be this kind of dad. There’s a part of us that wants to be George Banks. The kind of dad who plays basketball with his little girl in the backyard. The kind of dad who takes his kids to concerts and games. The kind of dad whose daughter looks up at him with those eyes that show nothing but love and admiration. In the opening, George says, “I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine, how she used to sit on my lap and lean her head against my chest. She said I was her hero.” We all want to be our children’s hero.

“I couldn’t love anything more.”

Being a father is the greatest reward ever. But from time-to-time we all have our doubts. We all have our “freak out” moments. And we all make mistakes. But movies like this help to remind us of our best selves. The ones we always hope to be. If you ever find yourself getting a little stressed thinking about your kids’ future, if you ever find yourself starting to worry about meeting the right person, if you ever find yourself freaking out and taking out hot dog buns at the store, then pop in this movie into your Blu-ray or DVD player and remind yourself that it’s okay.

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