Most of us Kanye fans might recognize rapper Rhymefest as the co-writer of the Academy Award wining track “Jesus Walks,” but this documentary delves far deeper than Rhymefest’s career and addresses the common problem of the absentee father.
Watch as Che Smith, also known as Rhymefest, opens up about a problem that plagues many American households as well as his own. Despite having an absent father, whom he met approximately four times during his childhood, Rhymefest has not only worked with the likes of Kanye West, he’s won two Academy Awards during his career. The first Oscar Rhymefest received was for co-writing “Jesus Walks” and his subsequent Oscar came in 2015 for “Glory,” which was featured in the lucrative film Selma. As Che is moving into his new home, the one that once belonged to his father, it prompts Che to question his whereabouts and the journey begins. Che invites us into his life as he acquaints himself with his estranged father Brian Tillman.
The film has its poignant moments such as when Brian meets Che for the first time in over 20 years, but Che’s hesitation to fully accept his father truly captures the vulnerability of a hurt man. From helping ween his father off alcohol to moving him into a living facility that helps provide him work, Che does his best to overlook his father’s absence in hopes of building a better future. Even after seemingly assimilating into Che’s family and society, Brian struggles to leave behind his homeless friends and the wandering lifestyle and even resorts to drinking after being sober for several months. The disappointment and helplessness felt by Che resonates with the audience as he tries to accept his father’s flaws and tries to love despite being hurt. The documentary brilliantly captures the bitter reality in getting what we want, or rather what we think we want. Che realizes he must accept his father alcoholism in order to maintain their relationship and finally have a father.