The Father Review – Brilliant, Impacting and Poignant

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The Father, from Sony Pictures Classics, brings to the screen a poignant portrayal of the relationship between older parents and children when age and all its frailties slowly overtake the mind causing a collision of futures.

The film begins with Anthony, played by Anthony Hopkins, alone in his home listening with headphones to classical music. His daughter, Anne, played by Olivia Colman, is seen rushing in, ringing the doorbell, unable to get him to answer, becomes slightly unraveled.

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This sets up an awkward conversation. Anne explains she has met someone and the two are in love and she will be moving to Paris.

This news is met with shock, an attempt to break the tension with humor, and finally with childlike concern of abandonment, he asks "What will become of me?" He is obstinate and fiercely independent, and only wants to remain in his home.

Soon we see Anne has a plan to force him into assisted living. We see she orchestrates attempts to create chaos and confusion, and most importantly, challenges his memory, in front of his doctor.

Unable to make daily visits, she moves him into her home. The move is barely noticeable to viewers, as the homes are nearly identical except for the kitchen. She continues to reinforce his mental deterioration.

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Granted he is plagued with early-stage dementia which shows when he forgets where his secret hiding places for his prized possessions are, which is not essentially a case to have him placed in assisted living as many people live life forgetful.

Of course, before any assisted living became the last resort, and expedited by the desire to move on with her life and move to Paris, Anne exhausts the possibility of daily caregivers. The final option, Laura, played by Imogen Poots, begins with the façade of promise, and deteriorates quickly as Anthony, charming, shows his expertise at emotional manipulation.

Anne who has been encouraged by her lover, Paul, played by Rufus Sewell, to move ahead and have Anthony placed in assisted living is clearly culpable in some aspects of this underlying plan to crate confusion.

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As time appears to drag on, Paul becomes aggressive and begins with crude remarks outside of earshot of Anne. With the goal of returning to Paris with Anne, forcing the situation becomes the only option. It remains unclear if Paul arranges the other elements, which include elder abuse.

The Father is a masterclass showcase. Anthony Hopkins continues to explode on the screen creating, with this film, a sympathetic heartbreaking character, and throughout the film maintains the underlying question, which he spoke in the first scene.

Olivia Colman matches note for note presenting the paternal bond which pulls her in two directions and finally choses life, in the present. Any middle-aged child, looking at their aging parent wonders of the very questions and options presented.

The Father embraces real life, as the two, the parent and child, volley with manipulation tactics to achieve the desired goal.

Driven by brilliant performances, an emotional and affecting story, The Father is an impacting drama.

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Honored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with four Golden Globe nominations including Best Motion Picture – Drama; Actor – Drama - Anthony Hopkins; Actress in a Supporting Role - Olivia Colman; Screenplay - Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton and Screen Actors Guild Awards for Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman.

The Father opens in theater February 26, 2021.


Country: United Kingdom.

Runtime: 97 minutes.

Language: English.

Director: Florian Zeller.

Screenplay: Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller.

Producer: Philippe Carcassonne, Simon Friend, Jean-Louis Livi, David Parfitt, Christophe Spadone, Alice Dawson.

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Rufus Sewell, Imogen Poots, and Olivia Williams.

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