The film, which centers on the sexual machinations of powerful men, reeks of impunity. Like so many of Louis’s standup jokes that purport to skewer the grossness of men, it could only have been made by a person confident that he would never have to answer for the repulsive things he’s long been rumored to have done, let alone be caught
.. Before China can take his advice, she is noticed by Leslie Goodwin (John Malkovich), a famous director in his late sixties whose taste for very young women is as legendary as his movies.
.. The only generous way to read “I Love You, Daddy” is as a portrait of male cowardice. What kind of man would be so shamefully pathetic as to avoid confronting the famous geezer who may or may not be screwing his underage daughter because that geezer has offered to read his latest script?
.. Louis .. likes to play losers who are at the mercy of others. Often, those others are women. It’s hard not to wonder, in the wake of Thursday’s revelations, to what extent Louis has used this persona to shield his reputation.
.. “Doesn’t society have to protect her?” .. . “Society?” she responds. “You mean you?”
.. Leslie is a stand-in of sorts for Woody Allen, and the movie, which was shot (shoddily, it must be said) on black-and-white 35-mm. film, is a pastiche of Allen’s “Manhattan” style
.. Must we believe the terrible things we hear about artists we admire? Louis is asking. And, if we do believe them, must we do something about it?
.. young women are more likely than not to be careless and foolish, and to bring trouble and disgrace on themselves—China has to be an empty vessel, an absolute airhead with no sense of self and no mind of her own. Her attraction to Leslie wouldn’t be remotely plausible otherwise; she would see him for what he is—ridiculous—and laugh him out of the room. In the end, it is China who makes herself absurd. She is the one who throws herself at Leslie, not the other way around, and so it is she who ends up rejected and humiliated. Leslie glides away in his Moroccan slippers with his integrity intact.
.. the film’s final point where women are concerned: stop flirting and mooching and get to work, because, if you don’t have to depend on men for money, they can’t control you, or harm you, or fuck you over.
.. The women in Louis’s film come in three flavors: the
- Shrew (Helen Hunt, her mouth pursed into a furious line, as Glen’s bitter ex-wife); the
- Seductress (Grace, with China in training); and, saddest of all, the
- Supporter (Edie Falco, as Glen’s long-suffering producer, and Pamela Adlon, as Glen’s tough-talking ex, a supporter in denial).
.. He wants them to work for a living, just like he has. Like so many Fathers of Daughters, I guess, he’s counting on them not running into dudes like him on the job.
.. the antidote to “I Love You, Daddy” is Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird,” a movie about teen-age girls that is actually interested in them as people.