Have you ever thought how would it feel like to not recognize your beloved ones? Or find your home oddly becoming a place of strange discomfort? Florian Zeller’s award-winning drama “The Father” is a devastating depiction of a mind slowly losing its grip on reality.
Based on Zeller’s 2012 French play, “The Father” centers on the relationship between 80-year-old Anthony – exceptionally played by Anthony Hopkins – and his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman), who is struggling to manage her dad’s dementia.
At the beginning of the movie everything looks fine. Anthony lives in a gorgeous apartment in London and is regularly visited by his caring daughter. But soon, places, names and faces get mixed up, leaving us confused, wondering who’s who and what’s what. That’s precisely the point of this film; to get us into Anthony’s shoes, whose worsening dementia means that he can’t get a grasp on what’s going on around him.
Unlike other films that have tackled this subject, “The Father” tries to put viewers inside Anthony’s head and simulate what it would actually be like to have dementia. As Hopkins masterfully portrays a man slipping further and further into the disease, the film captures the terrifying sensation of not being able to remember and understand beloved people and places.
“What I wanted to do was not tell the story from the outside, but the inside, and put the audience in an active position, as if they were in the main character’s head,” explains director and writer Florian Zeller in an interview.
Having exhausted his ability to surprise us, Antony Hopkins gives a moving, Oscar-winning turn in a film full of great performances. And once again, Colman is superb in her role.