Movie Review – The Father (2020)

The Father, 2020.

Directed by Florian Zeller.
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Olivia Williams, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, and Ayesha Dharker.



A person refuses all help from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his altering circumstances, he begins to doubt his family members, his personal thoughts and even the material of his actuality.


The Father wears its stageplay origins on its sleeves, nonetheless with room to remarkably perform as a stylistically bleak cinematic journey into the thoughts like no different. Anthony Hopkins’s surefire Oscar-worthy efficiency simply occurs to be the cherry on high. However, co-writer/Director Florian Zeller (adapting his personal play alongside Christopher Hampton) is telling not a lot a narrative about dementia however relatively goes for a visceral and vicarious depiction of that, making for one thing wholly authentic and hauntingly lovely with brilliantly edited (courtesy of Yorgos Lamprinos) collectively passages of time, repetition, bodily places, and misplaced reminiscences of a now fragmented thoughts.

Someplace north of 80, Anthony (Sir Anthony Hopkins, delivering one of many best performances of his profession, able to breaking your coronary heart from his lack of know-how and deeply confused expressions alone) insists he doesn’t want a caretaker and that he’s advantageous dwelling alone in his flat. In the meantime, his affected person daughter Anne (Olivia Colman demonstrating an abundance of sympathy, care, and a collected demeanor regardless of being on the verge of shedding her cool) explains that she is transferring from London to Paris to stay together with her new accomplice and {that a} caretaker can be needed as she received’t be round anymore.


All of a sudden, there isn’t any new accomplice, no plans of transferring to Paris, and Anne already has a accomplice named Paul (Rufus Sewell). The setting has additionally modified from a flat to an expansive condominium. There may be additionally a brand new nurse named Laura (Imogen Poots) up for the place that bears a resemblance to a daughter he now not sees. Then there’s the truth that Anthony typically doesn’t actually know what’s occurring, discovering himself speaking to hallucinated people reminiscent of Mark Gatiss’ The Man and Olivia Williams’ equally named The Girl (who actually simply appears to be like like a youthful model of Anne). It’s additionally not simple for him or us to navigate what’s occurring, as some scenes loop again into each other or cleverly veer into one other cut-off date.

Anthony reacts like anybody with dementia would; he lashes out, rejects to do what’s requested of him, tells everybody to fuck off, and conveys petrified worry as he’s unable to take care of a psychological sense of being. Similar to Anthony’s thoughts, The Father is everywhere coming throughout as a horror film in its deep-dive exploration of what it’s wish to stay with dementia. Typically, movies concentrate on the reverse in the best way to care for somebody struggling, and whereas The Father assuredly does additionally do a few of that with Anne, it’s extra involved with laying out that fractured way of thinking as Anthony lives from second to second, with loads of moments misplaced in between.


It’s truthful to say that The Father operates as a puzzle the viewer is constantly piecing collectively, which feels like an strategy that might find yourself a disrespectful mess in much less succesful fingers. Fortunately, it’s not enjoyable attempting to grasp the chronological order of those occasions and what’s actually occurring, as even when connecting the dots there’s a devastating realization that the extra this begins to make sense for us, Anthony is barely going to proceed getting worse. This has no comfortable ending for him; even when he does come to just accept what’s occurring he’s sure to neglect every thing he processed by the following morning.

In between assessing previous and current, there’s additionally a large number of cases the place Anthony is allowed to point out the charms of the person he as soon as was, whether or not it’s whimsically busting out into faucet dancing to impress his new nurse or enjoyable listening to classical music. At one level, the CD malfunctions and begins to loop the identical few seconds time and again, and there’s actually no higher metaphor for The Father. A few of us are going to turn into these CDs sooner or later, and similar to cleansing them off by no means actually does a lot good if the scratches are indented in, there’s not a lot that may be performed to treatment a damaged reminiscence financial institution. The perfect-case state of affairs is that a few of these scratches can be reminiscences price carrying till the tip. As for films, The Father is one to always remember.

Flickering Delusion Ranking – Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / Film: ★ ★ ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Movie Critics Affiliation and the Critics Alternative Affiliation. He’s additionally the Flickering Delusion Evaluations Editor. Verify right here for brand spanking new critiques, comply with my Twitter or Letterboxd, or e-mail me at [email protected]

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