Fatherhood ending explained – will Matt do the right thing?

By Marc Miller
Published: June 18, 2021 (Last updated: January 26, 2024)
ending of the Netflix film Fatherhood

This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film Fatherhood, so it will contain major spoilers.

Netflix’s Fatherhood is based on the 2011 memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matthew Logelin. Ready Steady Cut film critic, M.N. Miller, said “Fatherhood is a heartbreakingly lovely comedy. It also has Kevin Hart’s very best performance.”

Netflix’s Fatherhood ending explained

Kevin Hart plays Matt, a tech worker about to have his first child with his wife Brenda (The Bold Type’s Rachel Mutombo). Things go bad, heartbreakingly bad, quickly from there. His wife had an aneurysm and died shortly after giving birth.

Matt is left with a beautiful baby girl to raise on his own. His wife’s parents (played by Clemency’s Alfre Woodard and the always welcomed Frankie Faison) want him to move back to Minnesota so he can raise his daughter with family. He chooses to stay for now, because his boss (Paul Reisser) is very understanding. He also has a support system (played by Judas and the Black Messiah’s Lil Rel Howery and Barry’s Anthony Carrigan), but not family.

He stays but soon finds he needs help and can’t do it by himself. His relationship with the fetching Lizzie (a wonderful DeWanda Wise) is completely refreshing. Though, he cuts it off because, even though his daughter likes her, he realizes he needs to spend more attention to her after she had an accident at school when they had, uh, some afternoon delight.

What happens next?

When he visits his in-laws, he feels guilty that his daughter is happiest with them. He leaves her, ready to take a promotion so he can travel more, but has a change of heart at the airport. He switches flights to Minnesota, where his daughter is, and gets a joyfully reunited embrace. He also gives her a gift– a necklace that she lost on the schoolyard. It’s the one that he gave his wife the day they had their beautiful daughter, moments before she died.

The necklace was picked out of his wife’s jewelry box by his daughter. It was a new tradition, and she would get to pick out one each year. It almost brings a sense of closure of that wound that couldn’t be kept closed for all those years after Brenda’s (Rachel Mutombo) death.

When they get back to New York, they visit Lizzie again. Matt begs for forgiveness and to take him back. Lizzie pulls Matt’s daughter aside, and they decide to get ice cream. She invites Matt to come along as their third wheel. Matt has found a family together for the first time.

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