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The Father Review – “unlike anything we have seen before”

Charlie reviews Lionsgate’s Bafta award-winning THE FATHER praising Anthony Hopkins for a career best performance.

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The Father (Lionsgate)

The Father is coming soon to UK cinemas.

Synopsis

In THE FATHER, Hopkins plays the eponymous role of a mischievous and highly independent man who, as he ages, refuses all assistance from his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman). Yet, such help has become essential following Anne’s decision to move to Paris with her partner. As Anne’s father tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.

Review

Florian Zeller’s The Father is unlike anything we have seen before. From its production design to its screenplay and acting, this movie immediately reels you into the mind of our lead, Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), and does not let go until the credits start to roll. Is it worth your time? Oh, definitely!

The Father has been a film that has been on everyone’s radar for quite a while now. With the movie grabbing award nominations left and right including Best Picture at the Academy Awards and it stars Olivia Colman (The Favourite and Fleabag) and Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs and Thor) as two pivotal characters, it has been one that many people have been waiting to watch since its debut at Sundance 2020.

The story centres around Anthony (Hopkins), a man who refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of reality.

The plot for the film is fairly straightforward but what makes Florian Zeller’s new movie so special is the journey that it takes us on. From its opening scene, we are given a clear understanding of who Anthony is and who his daughter, Anne (Colman) is. Their characters play off each other perfectly and the chemistry that both actors have is visible on screen. We can see their past relationship through the dialogue and the tragic events that are discussed have left an impact on them which feeds into the film story.

Firstly, Anthony Hopkins is breathtaking here. Personally, he should be grabbing every Best Actor award he has been nominated for because he chews up every ounce of screen time he has. The film takes place in Anthony’s flat for the majority of the film and from the opening few shots we see each room, the furniture, decoration etc and when we see a painting disappear or something like that, Anthony picks up on the missing painting but so do we. The movie pulls us into the mind of our lead and does it in a way that excellently tells a compelling story while dealing with the deteriorating mind of a man with dementia. Hopkins was perfectly cast as Anthony and after seeing the film, I do not think any other actor could have pulled off what he did.

Olivia Colman is also fantastic too! She delivers emotion and seeing her dad slowly deteriorate allows her to give a performance that is heartbreaking and moving.

The production design is fantastic also; we come to grips with Anthony’s flat and when objects move, we notice it and that helps progress the movie. Everything is placed perfectly and the way the movie uses its surroundings to its advantage takes me back and engrossed me into the film even more.

The screenplay is also fantastic; since the movie is based off a hit play of the same name, the film does feel very stage-like and with that it brings some excellent dialogue. The majority of The Father takes place in Anthony’s flat so the movie limits its surroundings but with its staged feel to the entire film, every single scene has many fantastic dialogue-filled moments.

The films depiction of dementia is also perfect. We see everything through the lens of a man who is slowly starting to forget everything and we feel each and every gut-punch that The Father throws at us. We see it have an impact on Anthony’s daughter, her husband and everyone else he sees in his day-to-day life.

Verdict

We don’t get any movies like The Father nowadays. It’s a hard watch for sure but its portrayal of dementia felt realistic and seeing Anthony deteriorate as the film went on evokes so much emotion and by the end you are left filled with tears. Anthony Hopkins’ performance is the best he has been in his entire career and Olivia Colman is fantastic as Anthony’s daughter; both performances deserve all the awards and I can’t wait to see what Florian Zeller does next as a director.


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