Devastatingly Good Drama – The Father (Film Review)

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The past year has seen some truly remarkable performances and the awards race is really hotting up at the minute. But my personal pick for best actor would absolutely have to be Anthony Hopkins in The Father. Not only does he give the best performance of the year, but he gives one of the best performances of the decade and quite possibly one of the best performances I have ever seen. The Father is a film that’s worth watching for his performance alone and whilst Hopkins is most certainly the standout here, it’s a film that has plenty of other strengths and is an all-around great film with much more than a great lead performance.

Based on the award-winning play of the same name, The Father is about an old man with dementia called Anthony (played by Hopkins) and his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) trying to look after him and find a carer for him despite his protests. The Father is the directorial debut of Florian Zeller who also wrote the original play and he’s crafted such an incredible film.

The Father is such an effective film for a few different reasons. Firstly, as already touched upon, the acting is phenomenal. As well as Anthony Hopkins’ absolute triumph of a performance, Olivia Colman is excellent here too and the two have such a powerful screen presence. In addition to the acting, the script is so well-tuned and so well written that it’s just feeding the actors exactly what they need to create such a devastatingly human and powerful film.

The film puts Anthony’s dementia right at the forefront as it throws us in, not quite knowing what’s real and what isn’t and it expertly places us within Anthony’s mind, forcing the audience to experience his confusion. And the film jumps about with this and we don’t always necessarily know what exactly is true and what isn’t. It even plays about with some of the characters at points as people’s identities change and we don’t quite know who is who as we’re faced with the thoughts and feelings that Anthony is experiencing.

Everything that happens in the film is fleeting and short-lived as the memories come and go and we’re left with such a devastating and emotional film about dementia and love and family that truly packs a punch. The film really feels like a psychological thriller at times showing just how horrible and unrelenting dementia can be.

The Father is a very creative and human film that’s sure to play on your heartstrings and is an absolute must-watch. Not just for the compelling story and the way it’s told but also for the fantastic performances. Colman is on top form here but Anthony Hopkins absolutely steals the show giving his best performance since The Silence of the Lambs.

Dir: Florian Zeller

Scr: Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton

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

Prd: David Parfitt, Simon Friend, Daniel Battsek

DOP: Ben Smithard

Music: Ludovico Einaudi

Country: UK

Year: 2020

Run time: 97 minutes

The Father is currently due to be released in the UK on June 11th.

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