Sebastian’s parents rose from the poverty of Sicily and immigrated to America to give their son a better life than the one they knew. They worked hard and taught him to do the same, and Sebastian (Sebastian Maniscalco) grew up with a deep understanding and appreciation of two very different cultures. Subsequently, Sebastian fell in love with an aspiring artist named Ellie (Leslie Bibb) whose ancestors arrived on the Mayflower and who has come from a long line of wealthy, highly cultured, people. When Ellie’s family invites Sebastian to join them for a 4th of July weekend at their holiday home in Virginia, Sebastian decides he will use the occasion to ask Ellie to marry him. There is just one problem – his father Salvo (Robert DeNiro) won’t give his son the family ring unless he is able to meet Ellie’s parents first. Reluctantly agreeing to bring Salvo along for the weekend, Sebastian spends a hectic time trying to bridge the gap between his father’s strong Italian culture and working-class mentality and that of his extremely wealthy and classy, would-be, in-laws. Ellie’s mom Tigger (Kim Cattrall) is a senator, and her father Bill (David Rache) is the owner of numerous 5-star hotels. Ellie’s brother Lucky (Andres Holm) loves that everything is handed to him on a silver platter, while her other brother Doug (Brett Dier) is trying to become a natural healer, helping others get in touch with their emotions, feelings, and the vibrations of the Earth. Will Sebastian need to change to fit in to Ellie’s world or will his father ruin any chance he ever had?
Family dysfunction; white privilege; immigrant mentalities; classic Italian stereotypes; the clash of classes and cultures
About My Father has some violence. For example:
- Ellie flicks Lucky in the head when he is rude to Sebastian.
- Salvo kills a peacock (off-screen) and uses the beloved family pet in a dinner he is serving them. He later admits to Sebastian that he murdered ‘Sergeant Feathers’.
- Sebastian and Salvo blame the dog for the peacock’s death when it comes running into the house with a mouthful of feathers.
- There are references to slavery and past racial atrocities.
About My Father has some sexual references. For example:
- The camera zooms in on men in ‘testicle crushing speedos’.
- Sebastian notes that Ellie’s paintings look like vaginas.
- A character says to Ellie, ‘I see you’re still banging the bellboy’.
- Salvo says that tennis players sound like they are having an orgasm when they hit the ball.
- Sebastian says to Ellie that the only breasts he wants to see are hers.
- Tigger asks Lucky if he wants her to feel his ‘testes’ after he is hit in the crotch by a tennis ball.
- Salvo tells his son that he hasn’t seen him naked since the delivery room and (indicating his penis) alludes to the fact that he doesn’t think it has grown since.
- Sebastian concedes that he has shown his balls to the in-laws.
- In relation to Sebastian’s bare backside, Lucky asks him if he saw the full moon.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
About My Father has some substance use. For example:
- Salvo smokes cigars on several occasions, including while getting off a plane and on the tarmac.
- It is repeatedly implied that Lucky has a bit of a drug problem and that the use of drug testing is why he hasn’t been considered for certain jobs. He later promises not to do drugs.
- Salvo and Tigger smoke cigars together.
- There is wine and champagne at dinner and different social functions.
Nudity and sexual activity
About My Father has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Sebastian’s swimming trunks come down around his ankles while he is wearing water blasting boots that allow him to remain airborne. He is unable to pull them up and audiences get a full view of his backside while Ellie’s family gets a full view of the front, including when his genitalia is pressed up against the glass of a boat’s window.
- Ellie unzips Sebastian’s pants in the kitchen while the family is all having dinner in the next room. They kiss passionately and she appears to be manually stimulating him with her hands. They stop suddenly when Sebastian notices peacock feathers in the trash.
About My Father has some product placement. For example, Uber, Facetime, TikTok and Zoom are all mentioned, and the following products are displayed or used in the movie:
- Heinz Ketchup
- French’s mustard
- A Sergio Tacchini T-shirt
- Wilson tennis rackets.
About My Father has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
About My Father is a comedy, loosely based around real-life experiences and devised by stand-up comic Sebastian Maniscalco. The movie highlights the clash of cultures and classes in a humorous and meaningful way and could not have been cast any better. Due to the sexual innuendo and language, this is not a family film. It’s better suited to more mature audiences and might be enjoyed particularly by fathers and sons.
The main messages from this movie are to be yourself, instead of pretending to be someone else; and that family isn’t just one important thing – Family is everything.
Values in About My Father that you could reinforce with your children include resilience, hard work, independence, compassion, acceptance and forgiveness.
About My Father could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like these:
- Having everything handed to you versus having to work hard to get what you want.
- Making generalisations about people based on how they live or where they come from, instead of getting to know who they really are.
- Using drugs.
- Focusing on differences or negative qualities instead of looking at the way that others can (and do) enrich your life.