Anthony Hopkins plays the eponymous role of a mischievious 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.
Scarier than any horror yet so moving too
- The Father review by AER
Just watched The Father, for which Anthony Hopkins won his second best actor Oscar. For me he's never been better than in this really moving piece of cinema.
I wasn't expecting much really, and saw it on a whim, but I'm so glad I did. It's merciless in its unsentimentality. It's too truthful, and more frightening than any horror film I'll see in a while.
Trust me, this was truly immersive and if you like Anthony Hopkins, I can only think of one other occasion he was close to being this good, and that was in The Remains of the Day. Olivia Williams and Olivia Colman were so good too. An intelligent yet very accessible drama. More like this please!
10 out of 10
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful.
Top Heart Breaking Drama
- The Father review by GI
Almost heartbreakingly sad this has a central and very moving performance from Anthony Hopkins as a man falling deeper into the abyss of dementia. There are brilliant performances all round in fact not least from Olivia Colman as the daughter struggling to cope with her Dad's worsening condition. There is humour in this film especially in the first scenes but ultimately this is a sad film and indeed at times quite frightening too. Hopkins is a retired engineer living in his well appointed London flat and regularly visited by his caring yet exasperated daughter Anne. He's cantankerous and subject to sudden mood swings caused by his dementia and has a history of driving away the carers that Anne finds for him. Where this film is clever is what you see and hear as the viewer may or not be true as we view the world through Hopkin's eyes and his reality isn't always everyone else's. It's a remarkably well written and structured film and we are introduced to characters at various points that may or may not be real also. As the man becomes more confused so the stark horror of this awful condition become ever more clear. The support cast, as I said, are magnificent and include Olivia Williams, Imogen Poots, Mark Gatiss and Rufus Sewell. This will have you shedding tear but it is a touching film too and a must see for Hopkins and Colman's tour de force performances.
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful.
Anthony Hopkins' towering performance saves and makes this sometimes confusing film
- The Father review by PV
What makes this film special is the towering performance of Anthony Hopkins who is always a joy to watch. I can watch him in anything.
By contrast, I find Olivia Coleman (stage name) annoying and irritating, so just tolerate her.
The script comes from a stage play, and the director stated he wanted to adapt it to be cinematic and not stagey - nevertheless, it is a bit stagey. And it is very French - it feels French, somehow. Bourgeois Paris transplanted to London maybe? The original play was set in Paris.
I know the script is meant to reflect the confusion of dementia; however, it is still confusing and not all is resolved in the end. I watched this alone but would have liked to watch it to others maybe so they could explain it to me. The whole issue of France and Paul... (no spoilers). Baffling. I may watch it again one day and see if I get that bit.
Also irritating - as in so many films - is the idea ordinary British people like in such houses and apartments (posh ones are not called flats apparently). This is Maida Vale London W( where a 2 bed flat in a mansion block costs £1.2 million minimum - the flat here is larger, so 1.5 or 1.8 million maybe. And then the daughter has a similar flat too. So this is \a seriously rich family, Nor ordinary middle class British people at all.
This is annoying and wrong - no wonder Americans all seem to think we live in Downtown Abbey! Most Brits like in small flats in London and normal suburban semis and terraced houses otherwise. Not this millionaire luxury. This may be that Paris Bourgeois effect again. But it is what I call the PADDINGTON EFFECT as the Browns in that film live in a mansion which would cost at least 3 million quid ad maybe five. In the Paddington books, the Browns live in an ordinary semi. Film-makers deliberately posh up movie adaptations to appeal to American and world audiences. The Downtown effect again. JUST STOP IT!
The DVD comes with a half hour zoon interview with him and the director and Olivia Coleman which is illuminating.
All in all, not the masterpiece people claim, but good enough. Up to now though, I suspect TV drama has dealt better with issues of dementia and mental health generally.
3.5 stars rounded up.
5 out of 8 members found this review helpful.
Empathetic portrayal of dementia
- The Father review by PD
As someone who lives with someone with dementia (my father in fact), Florian Zeller's piece is undoubtedly both an unsettlingly accurate simulation of what it’s like to live with and love someone with dementia, and a strikingly believable conception of what it’s like to live AS someone with dementia - the film envisioning senility as a house of mirrors in which everyone loses sight of themselves and reality itself becomes destabilized. There are so many overtones with my own experience - the obsession with a watch and other compulsive behaviour, the disorientation in an unfamiliar room, the aggression and paranoia.
Anthony Hopkins is predictably superb in the title role, deftly conveying that, for better or worse he still has the vim and vigour of a much younger man, but his mind is a leaky ship in search of land - although it's perhaps a pity that, as with many films of this ilk, we are invited to feel it's more tragic because of his past intellectual accomplishments - it isn't: everyone of course, regardless of their past, deserves our compassion. And his performance is neatly complemented by Olivia Williams, whose ongoing realisation that she cannot give her father what he needs is equally as heart-rending. And one of film’s best scenes involves an introductory meeting between the father and his bright new aide (a brilliant Imogen Poots, negotiating an entire Pinter play worth of resolve, doubt, and betrayal in just a few short minutes). Anthony is at once both more aware than we think, and less aware than he knows. That tension erupts into a rare burst of melodrama — though Hopkins keeps the ham in check — but it leaves the entire flat unsettled in a way that makes it hard to know what it is you should be feeling.
There's quite a few weaknesses - it's always difficult transferring a stage play to screen, and some of the 'tricks' used here are very clunky indeed in film close-up, whilst occasionally, despite Hopkins' superb performance, the words are simply not up to the terrifying reality on screen - towards the end, Hopkins evokes King Lear when he compares himself to a tree losing its branches, and though he just about gets away with it, Shakespearean poetry this is not - for sheer power, 'Elizabeth is Missing' and 'Eternal Beauty' are for me better films dealing with mental issues. Nevertheless for all that, a brave, empathetic piece.
Beneath the shifting surfaces of The Father — many slight tricks are hidden up Florian Zeller's sleeves — there is little to hide the simplicity of its skeleton. Anthony Hopkins plays a man in decline, losing control of his environment day by day, and inevitably his memory. Hopkins' performance more than outshines his fellow cast, whose peripheral roles never properly amount to anything, and bow, reverentially, to his masterclass. The film is wrapped around his little finger; it is the Oscar vehicle any actor might dream of seizing. The Father eventually dissolves into poorly scripted goop, where themes of "losing his leaves" and missing watches are underlined, and underlined again.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
Powerful but painful drama about Dementia
- The Father review by GH
"The Father" is a moving, illuminating and powerful drama about the effects of aging and decline. Brilliantly portrayed by all the cast, the story describes the range of emotions experienced by a parent suffering from the disabling effects of dementia and by those near and dear to him. Fear, bewilderment, confusion, anger and sadness are in evidence and the drama exposes the confliction in carers and the relatives over how to best serve the interests of all concerned. A gripping film which will cause discomfort and perhaps uncertainty in viewing the events as they unfold.
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
Fairly harrowing plotline, but a compelling watch and fantastic acting
- The Father review by giantrolo
You couldn't say this film was awesome, as it dealt with the hugely complex and on many occasions upsetting subject of a parent descending into extreme forgetfulness to the point of pathology - but it was brilliantly acted by a stellar cast and was a compelling watch. There were many times that the film was super confusing (many a time we were asking ourselves, who is this person acting the part of that other person who just appeared 5 minutes ago?), but that just added to the sense of the film's subject, and altogether it was a hugely moving film. Highly recommended!
Both Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman put in sterling performances but they deserve better material. The film is more about messing with the audience's heads than portraying the true and sad consequences of dementia. Incidentally, the London flat has rooms the size of state rooms in a palace! Yeh, all Londoners live in one of those...
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
Superbly acted and poignant
- The Father review by CD
I was in two minds as to whether watch this film as the subject matter sounded grim. I am glad I did because the actors are superb and the scariness and disorientation of dementia is really brought out both by Anthony Hopkins’ character and the family and helpers around him. The tensions created by a person suffering from dementia are well shown as are the battle between being compassionate to the sufferer, acting is their best interests and carrying on with one’s own life. The final scene is really transformative and very moving. Hats off to the director, actors and everyone involved with this great film.