Too Young to Be a Dad
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (October 2012)|
15 year old Matt Freeman is the youngest member to be inducted into his school's Honor Society. His hard-working, middle-class parents, Dan and Susan Freeman are thrilled that they have one "good" child as they are trying to control their oldest daughter, Alex, who is smoking, having sex with her boyfriend, and failing her classes. During math class, Matt meets Francesca Howell, daughter of the rich Dr. & Juliana Howell. Seeing she is struggling in math, Matt offers to tutor her. Very quickly, Francesca & Matt develop feelings and start going out. Francesca admits to Matt that she has already had sex and finds it to be a stress reliever from having to live up to her parents' high expectations. One day after school, Matt ditches his best friend, Blaire, goes over to Francesca's house and has sex with her. The next day, he admits to Francesca that he isn't ready for that kind of relationship and asks to remain good friends.
Not long after, Francesca notices she is gaining weight and struggles to keep it hidden from her parents, especially her mother, who is overly critical of her appearance. A few days later, she tells Matt her period is late and they walk to a nearby convenience store, where Matt steals a pregnancy test, which comes back positive. Francesca's parents quickly notice something is wrong, but believe she is on drugs. Her father finally realizes what is wrong when he sees her throwing up one morning. Dr. Howell calls Matt's mother, who is completely shocked and angry, but is quick to assure Matt that she loves him. Matt tells Blaire, who is quick to blame Francesca for the pregnancy and confides to Matt she is worried that what happened will destroy their friendship. Susan calls Dan, who is on a business trip and is unable to make it back in time to meet with the Howells.
At the meeting, the Howells explain that Francesca is 5 months pregnant, so the pregnancy cannot be terminated. He also explains that their health insurance covers prenatal care up to 80%, leaving the Freemans to pay the rest. More importantly, Dr. Howell explains to Matt that he believes a closed adoption in an out-of-state placement is the only way to provide the baby with a good solid home and to give both Matt and Francesca their lives back. Matt seems hesitant about placing his child for adoption, but reluctantly agrees when his mother explains it is the only way to safeguard his future.
A little later, Susan receives a call from Matt's school principal informing her that Matt and Francesca are being involuntarily transferred to a local alternative school for teenage parents, as per school policy. Susan begs the principal not to remove Matt, citing how much he loves school and how upsetting it would be to him and his academic future. The principal sets up a meeting for Susan and Matt to present their case. All around tensions become high. Dr. Howell is not allowing Matt to see Francesca, Alex is clashing with her parents who are insisting she go to college instead of taking a year off to work, and his parents are struggling to help pay Francesca's prenatal care expenses. Much to his mother's shock and fury, at his school appeal meeting, Matt tells his principal that he wants to transfer to the alternative school with Francesca. He tries to explain to his mother that he feels obligated to go and that he will now be able to get a job to help pay the bills.
Matt gets a job at a pizza parlor, but tensions in the family still continue to increase. Matt excels at his job, even though his boss forces him to work later than is legally allowed. Though he gives all of his earnings to his parents, the bills remain high, so Matt starts selling his video games to make extra money. Quickly noticing how tired he is, Matt's mother demands that he keep some of his wages for emergencies and allow her to bring him to and from work everyday. She tells Matt how proud she is of him for the way he has acted since Francesca became pregnant. Closer to Francesca's due date, the Howells and Freemans meet with a lawyer, who asks Matt and Francesca to sign papers agreeing to surrender the baby to an adoption agency. The lawyer explains that the child's birth certificate will be re-issued to show only the adoptive parents, with no mention of any adoption. Matt, who has been struggling with placing his child, reluctantly signs the paper.
One night, when Matt catches his mother looking through his baby book, he admits that he can't stand knowing that he will never see any pictures of - or even know - his baby. Matt's mother understands and asks Dan if he would consider helping Matt raise the baby. Dan is hesitant, saying that the family made a decision and they would have to stick with it. Meanwhile, Susan and Dan mend relations with Alex and apologize for making her feel like a loser because her dreams and goals differ from their intended plans for her.
In mid-June, Dr. Howell calls the Freemans to tell them Francesca is going into labor. Dan warns Susan not to go with Matt to the hospital because they'll both get too attached to the baby, but Susan and Matt go anyway. At the hospital, Dr. Howell explains, rather rudely, that Francesca gave birth to a baby girl and didn't want to hold the baby. He tells them the baby is in the nursery, and will remain there until she is given to her adoptive parents. Susan and Matt go the nursery to see her, and Matt immediately falls in love with the baby. Dr. Howell is furious to see Matt holding the baby, since Matt has technically signed away his parental rights. Susan tells Dr. Howell that Matt has every right to see his baby and reminds him that the adoption won't be final for six months.
Back at the house, Alex convinces her father to go with her to the hospital to see the baby. With the family all together at the nursery, Matt begs his parents to let him keep his daughter, and both agree without hesitation. Matt goes back to the lawyer and gets his parental rights returned. He names his new daughter Genevieve and brings her home, where she receives a warm welcome from Susan, Dan, Alex, and Blaire.
The last scene shows Matt with Genevieve giving her an evening bottle. Susan comes in and checks on him, and offers to take over for him. Matt politely replies that he can handle parenting Genevieve himself, and then the camera pans out the window, showing the water near their house.
Cast and characters
- Paul Dano....Matt Freeman: father of Genevieve. He struggles to give Genevieve up. In the end he decides to raise Genevieve as a single parent, with the help of his parents and sister.
- Kathy Baker....Susan Freeman: mother of Matt and Alex, who helps Matt with his choice to keep Genevieve.
- Katie Stuart....Francesca Howell: mother of Genevieve. Goes through adoption because of her father. Unknown if she is a part of Genevieve's life.
- Bruce Davison....Dan Freeman: father of Matt and Alex. Tries not to get emotionally attached to Genevieve. Wants Genevieve to be given up for adoption.
- Terra Vnesa....Alex Freeman: Matt's older sister, initially considered the "bad" child in the family due to her smoking, defiance, frequent conflict with family members, academic failure, and refusal to follow her parents' plans for her future.
- Nigel Bennett....Dr. Howell: father of Francesca. Wants nothing to do with Genevieve. Wanted Francesca to get an abortion, but since she was too far along when her pregnancy was revealed, forced her to give Genevieve up for adoption.
- Sherry Miller....Juliana Howell: mother of Francesca. Wants to have Genevieve loved.
- Shadia Simmons....Blair: Matt's best friend.