The first trailer for Newton native Louis C.K.’s somewhat controversial new film I Love You, Daddy hit the internet Wednesday, and it’s quickly apparent why the film had people talking at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The trailer centers around a wealthy, divorced film executive named Glen Topher (C.K.) whose 17-year-old daughter, China (Chloe Moretz), comes to live with him in New York City for the second half of her senior year of high school. It quickly becomes evident to everyone but Glen that China is able to get away with doing whatever she wants, absolving herself of any sin with a casual “I love you, Daddy.”
“A girl that age is getting into trouble,” an actress (Pamela Adlon) tells Glen. “And if she ‘loves her daddy,’ that means you’re doing nothing.”
The clarifying moment for Glen seems to come when China begins dating the much, much older film director Leslie Goodwin (John Malkovich), a man whose work Glen deeply admires but whose dating history gives him pause.
I Love You Daddy has drawn comparison to Woody Allen’s 1979 film Manhattan, both in subject matter (both movies concern an older man’s relationship with a 17-year-old girl), and in style (both are shot in black and white and feature a full orchestral score).
According to Tatiana Siegel of The Hollywood Reporter, much of the audience chatter at the Toronto Film Festival following a screening of I Love You, Daddy centered around whether Malkovich’s character, who in the trailer C.K. calls “probably the best filmmaker of the last 30 years,” might be partly inspired by Allen.
Allen has been accused of sexually abusing his 7-year-old daughter and recently said that the allegations against Harvey Weinstein should not spark “a witch hunt.”
When asked about Allen, C.K., who co-starred in Allen’s 2013 film, Blue Jasmine, told Uproxx that he is “a sweet guy.”
“I was in one movie with him. And we kept in touch a little bit. I never hung out with him except for when we were doing Blue Jasmine, but I only know Woody in terms of my interactions with him personally,” C.K. told Uproxx. “And he’s a mensch. He’s a sweet guy. He’s always been very nice to me. And again, it’s a distant relationship. You know, a couple emails per year. But I do. I like Woody, yes.”
C.K. himself has been dogged by unsubstantiated rumors of sexual misconduct with female comics. Comedian Tig Notaro said that C.K. needed to “handle” the rumors in a Daily Beast interview this past summer.
“I’m not going to answer to that stuff, because they’re rumors,” C.K. told The New York Times. “If you actually participate in a rumor, you make it bigger and you make it real.”
I Love You, Daddy is set to hit theaters Dec. 1.