The Father
Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins in The Father.

Luke McWilliams gives his review of the 2020 drama, The Father, starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman.

Anne (Olivia Colman) visits her father Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) at his apartment after he became belligerent with his last caretaker. Anne tells Anthony that she is leaving London for Paris to live with her new boyfriend Paul (Rufus Sewell). This confuses Anthony since he thought she was married to James, however, they divorced years ago …

Co-written and directed by Florian Zeller, based on his 2012 play Le Père, The Father has been well received; both leads have received well deserved Oscar nominations. Anthony is a very proud man, battling for his independence while he is conscious of his reality crumbling around him. Suspicious that his daughter and her boyfriend are plotting to put him into a home, Anthony rebels against them and the caretakers who Anne hires to ease her burden.

Anne is pulled between the needs of her father and the want of her own life. Weighed down physically, emotionally and psychologically by caring for her father, Anne must also compete with the ghost of her sister, whom Anthony idolises.

True to its stage origins, the movie is set primarily in an apartment. The performances and weaving story ensnare the audience, painting fully dimensional characters who, while flawed, are tragically easy to empathise with.

Verdict: Like Still Alice, the movie presents the devastating effects of dementia on the individual and those around them. The Father, however, puts us uncomfortably into centre stage. 5 stars.

The Father is screening at Palace and Dendy Cinemas.

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