By Mark Saldana
Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)
With an already impressive list of performances in his filmography, Anthony Hopkins delivers yet another amazing and tremendous performance in The Father. Based on the play Le Pere by Florian Zeller, the film adaptation more or less feels like a film adaptation of a theater production, but with some impressive cinematic techniques and editing that offer more dimension. The movie follows the life of an elderly British gentleman who struggles with dementia, and presents his struggles through his own eyes. This perspective is appropriately disorienting and sometimes confusing, but not in any bad ways. Director Florian Zeller and his cast and crew have made an outstanding film that gives their audience some genuine insight into what it is like to have dementia and thusly, delivers a heart-wrenching gut punch of an experience.
Hopkins stars as Anthony, an older gentleman whose caring, but flustered daughter (Olivia Colman) has moved in with him to oversee his care during his final years. Though Anthony claims to feel fine and totally capable of life on his own, he begins showing signs of confusion and dementia, as he himself can no longer differentiate from the reality of the situation and his perception of what is happening. As these major changes occur in his life, Anthony becomes increasingly disoriented and unable to identify who is who in his life.
I was certainly taken aback and emotionallly affected by this powerful and sad movie. Writer/director Florian Zeller has done an amazing job of presenting a starkly realistic portrait of a man losing his grip on reality and clinging to his past memories for dear life. Zeller and editor Yorgos Lamprinos have pieced together an intricate piece that skillfully tells Anthony’s story from his perspective. This technique is initially confusing, but still works tremendously as we the audience manage to determine what is real and what is not. The experience is both surreal and heartbreaking with Hopkins giving another transcendent performance.
In his portrayal of the afflicted Anthony, Hopkins completely immerses himself into his character, beautifully and disturbingly expressing a wide range of emotions and traits. In addition, actress Olivia Colman gives another incredible acting turn as Anthony’s daughter Anne who oversees her father’s care. It is such an amazing performance that I chose her as my pick for best performance by a supporting female actor. The film also features great acting by Rufus Sewell, Imogen Poots, Mark Gatiss, and Olivia Williams.
Now even thought this movie is sad and emotional, I still highly recommend it. It impressively gives its audiences a realistic experience of the struggles of confusion and dementia in the latter years of one’s life. The Father opens in theaters on March 12, and will be available on VOD on March 26, 2021,