I caught my second viewing of I Love You, Daddy (The Orchard, 11.17) the other night. You’ve probably read it’s about a hot-shot TV writer-producer (played by producer-director-writer-editor-star Louis C.K.) who’s increasingly disturbed by his 17-year-old daughter China (Chloe Grace Moretz) falling into a relationship with a famous 68 year-old libertine (John Malkovich), and about his weak, barely noticable parenting skills.
After my first viewing I was saying to myself that while I don’t exactly “like” I Love You, Daddy I respect what it’s saying, which is that wealthy showbiz types and their liberal, laissez-faire approach to morality, relationships and especially parenting is a fairly vacant proposition. After my 2nd viewing I believe this all the more. The film is basically an indictment of “whatever, brah” liberal lifestyles and relative morality.
It is almost assured of getting a rave review from the National Review‘s Kyle Smith as well as other conservative critics and commentators. Which is all the more noteworthy because it was made by a successful stand-up guy known for his mostly liberal views.
I Love You, Daddy doesn’t play fast and loose with the notions of showbiz relationships and May-December romances. It’s not endorsing or winking at inappropriate older guy-younger girl relationships. It’s actually a sly capturing of a problem sometimes found within the entertainment industry and super-wealthy lah-lah circles. Louis C.K. doesn’t try to erotically or amusing entertain as much as push those “oh, shit” or “ahh, yes” buttons. It’s obviously a doleful Woody Allen-esque comedy of sorts, but it’s also a kind of familial tragedy.
And Malkovich is quietly brilliant as the libertine, Leslie Goodwin. Maybe I was tired or in the wrong kind of mood when I saw ILYD two or three weeks ago, but I somehow didn’t quite realize how mesmerizing his performance is until last night.
But that’s all out the window now because of a just-published N.Y. Times report about Louis C.K. having masturbated in front of (or asking to masturbate in front of) four female comics — Dana Min Goodman, Julia Wolov, Abby Schachner and Rebecca Corry — and a fifth woman who experienced something similar but asked The Times for anonymity.
What Louis C.K. is accused of having done is obviously appalling and reprehensible and serious as a heart attack, but at the same time it’s a shame that an unusually interesting and even subversive film like I Love You, Daddy will now most likely be shunned and tossed into the waste basket.
But those are the rules. Once you’ve been outed or accused of sexual harassment or assualt by reputable journalists who’ve spoken with named and verified sources, your work is discredited, your friends and colleagues don’t want to know you, and your career is most likely over, at least for the foreseeable future.
The Orchard, the distributor of I Love You, Daddy, is apparently thinking of washing its hands. The New York premiere of I Love You, Daddy has been canceled. The comedian’s planned appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert has also been deep-sixed.