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The Father (2020)The Father (2020)

The Father (2020)

Dementia, thoughtfully examined and artfully portrayed

Drama, Family, Mystery

8.0

movie

France, United Kingdom

English

Depressing, Tear-jerker, Thought-provoking

2020

Florian Zeller

Anthony Hopkins, Ayesha Dharker, Evie Wray

97 min

Synopsis

A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages and, as he 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.

Our Take

8.0
Renee Cuisia

The Father is a compelling inner look at the ways dementia distorts memories. By occupying the unstable headspace of 80-year-old Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), the film allows us to experience his frustration and confusion firsthand. We, too, are unsure about the ever-shifting details we’re presented with. Conversations are circular and time seems inexistent. The faces we know are swapped with names we don’t know. Even the tiniest elements, such as the wall tiles and door handles, are constantly changing in the background. We grasp for the slippery truth with Anthony but always come up empty and unsure.

In a thoughtful move by director Florian Zeller, we also get a glimpse of the lives surrounding Anthony. The daughter Anne (Olivia Colman), in particular, is often the victim of her father’s tirades, but she takes care of him still, conflicted as to where to draw the line between his needs and hers. 

With its fluid editing, subtle detail-swaps, and empathic portrayal of characters, The Father is just as technically impressive as it is movingly kind.

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