From Atticus Finch to Cliff Huxtable to Mr. Incredible
Hal Fields, 'Beginners'
Played by: Christopher Plummer
What makes him a best dad: A spry, seventy-something family man based heavily on writer-director Mike Mills' own father -- and played by Plummer in an Oscar-winning performance -- Hal has been a kind and supportive dad to his adult son Oliver (played by Ewan McGregor) for 38 years, but there's always been an unnamed distance between them, a disconnect that has kept Oliver closer to his doting mother. When Mom dies, he finds out why: Hal is gay, and his decision to come out at the age of 75 completely redefines the terms of their relationship. How can you be a great dad, after all, until you're completely honest about who you are? This tender autobiographical drama sees a father belatedly leading by example: Oliver himself is an emotionally repressed bachelor, and watching his father shed his inhibitions and open himself to the possibilities of true love -- with the threat of terminal cancer only intensifying his carpe diem resolve -- teaches him to do the same. It's never too late to become the dad you might have been.
- Guy Lodge