THE FATHER – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 37 mins.
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Florian Zeller
WRITER: Christopher Hampton (Screenplay)
STARRING: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Olivia Williams, and Rufus Sewell
As none of us are escaping our own evolution towards the twilight years, whether we want to face this realization or not, we hope and pray that dementia won’t creep in, robbing us of the life we once knew…
Welcome to the premise behind Director and Writer Florian Zeller’s 6-time Oscar nominated creation – THE FATHER – as we meet Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), struggling to understand why his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) is always hovering ~ as he is perfectly fine – living alone in his very exquisite flat in the heart of London.
Torn on what to do, since her Father’s mental state seems to be diminishing quickly these past few months, Anne attempts to bring in an aid to assist her Father with his daily routine. Enamored initially by his new aid Laura (Imogen Poots), Anthony is excited to have such a fresh face around again to converse with him. But as quickly as his excitement for this new arrangement began, just as quickly did it meet with its demise, as Anthony determines that both his daughter, and Laura, have ulterior motives, and they both just out to get him…
As Anne struggles with what is the best thing to do for her Father, and his safety, in his present state of mind, she too must come to the realization that neither she, nor her father, are truly equipped to face all the uncertainties of what lies ahead…
Painfully palpable, and mentally captivating throughout – Florian Zeller has brought this very painful scenario of real life to the big screen, and in a way that you will find yourself as confused as its characters, in what is real, or what’s only happening in the dementia-filled mind of THE FATHER. I was absolutely taken aback by the way this film draws you into the madness of it all, as you see how dementia starts to rob our elderly of their present existence, forcing them to live inside a mind that has no grasp of what’s really taking place. Brilliantly acted by Academy award winner Anthony Hopkins, THE FATHER forces you to face the depression, anxiety and insanity that our elderly with dementia must endure. Olivia Colman gives another exceptional performance too, as the daughter trying to do what is right, although constantly second guessing herself along the way, as we all tend to do, when dealing with our own crisis with family members. My only wish for her, and her performance throughout was that she would have garnered more screen time. Poots is also exceptional playing the aid that realizes its going to be impossible for her to care for the sometimes sweet, sometimes very cranky old man, as his mind sadly continues to deteriorate. Hopkins and Colman are both worthy of all the accolades this film is bringing their way too this awards season, and so is Director Florian Zeller, as he truly manages to bring out some of the most exceptional performances in film this year, from his entire cast, making THE FATHER truly one of the most exceptional films this year, that I urge you to see either at a theater near you immediately, as its NOW SHOWING at the Hi-Pointe Theatre in Clayton, Landmark’s Plaza Frontenac Cinema, and Marcus Ronnies, St. Charles and Chesterfield Cinemas, or catch it on streaming starting tomorrow 3/26 on Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNOW, Apple TV, and iTunes.