By: Amanda Guarragi
When two families come together to celebrate the union of their children, it’s always a wonderful thing. A good old family comedy is scarce in this cinematic climate. Sebastian Maniscalco decided to retell the story about growing up with his father and how he was his hero. Sometimes people can lose their way because they’re so set on building their own life away from home that they forget their parents have lives too, and we need to share them with them. Maniscalco honoured his father, Salvo, by casting Robert De Niro to play him and make him as charming as ever.
About My Father has Sebastian (Maniscalco) ready to propose to his girlfriend Ellie (Leslie Bibb) over the Fourth of July weekend. Ellie’s parents are officially comfortable with him because they extended the invite to their White Oaks Country home for the festivities. When Sebastian visits his dad, he kindly asks for his late mother’s ring, but Salvo wants to meet the family face-to-face. Ellie’s family is white and privileged, while Salvo is a hairdresser who moved from Italy to Chicago to give his son a better life. Sebastian understands they come from different worlds but hopes his father isn’t too stubborn to ease things over for the proposal.
Although this feels like Maniscalco’s stand-up material reformatted into a script, it is still a heartfelt family comedy. If you’re a Maniscalco fan and you are Italian, you will appreciate this comedy. De Niro and Maniscalco have great chemistry as father and son. De Niro hasn’t been this emotional and charming in a while. Maniscalco and Austen Earl co-wrote the script and incorporated some sweet family moments. It is an authentic depiction of how Italian parents raise their children, which many can relate to. To round out Ellie’s family, David Rasche, Brett Dier, Anders Holm, and Kim Cattrall also had their moments. They all worked together well to deliver strong comedic beats.
About My Father is a heartfelt family comedy that honours the life of Salvo Maniscalco. It was sweet for Sebastian to turn his father’s immigrant story into a film showing the life of an immigrant from Sicily. De Niro embodied Salvo and showed a different side of him as well. What was great about this film was showing the importance of family and not having to change who you are for other people. It’s accepting where you came from, acknowledging it, and choosing how you want to live your life. The cycle can always be broken or improved upon for the next generations, and that’s what Maniscalco explores here.