Portraying the horrors of Dementia, The Father on Amazon Prime will leave you shook with grief. It’s a terribly tough watch!
Directed by Florian Zeller, The Father is based on his own French play, ‘La Pere’ where we’re welcomed into Anthony’s mind, perceiving things the way he is at any given point throughout the 97 minutes. It gives us a fragmented narrative right from the start which leaves us wondering whether it’s a tale of Dementia or his family is playing mind games with a mentally ill person!
Cast – Anthony Hopkins as the 80-year-old Anthony with Dementia was a cinematic experience. I feel honoured to have watched him perform magic via this character. Anthony Hopkins won multiple awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role for ‘The Father’ and each of them is so well deserved! He expresses multiple emotions in 97 minutes some of which we don’t even have a word for. His constant mood swings and bursting into a fit of anger helps one understand how he’s grappling to make sense of his confusion through the film. Olivia Colman has done a fabulous job as Anne, the daughter. This movie portrays her frustration, annoyance, and compassion as a caretaker rather well.
Storyline – What we think is the beginning of the story shows Anthony going about his day in his apartment in London when his daughter enters and talks about getting a new caretaker for him since she wishes to move to Paris because she’s met someone. He refuses her assistance and states that the previous caretaker stole his watch, something he often finds missing from his wrist. Anne grows impatient at this conversation like anyone who’s done this multiple times would. The next scene itself introduces us to two new characters who introduce themselves to Anthony as Anne and her husband, rendering him absolutely shocked. This pattern is repeated throughout the film regarding the faces of his caretaker, his daughter, and her ex-husband. The entire storyline leaves Anthony and the audience completely perplexed about what’s real and what’s a figment of his own imagination.
Watch the trailer here!
What I liked – Florian Zeller manipulates time and space in an ingenious manner, giving the protagonist and the audience no clarity about where or when something is taking place. You can feel each of Anthony’s emotions at every stage – his fear, shock, helplessness, refusing to give up control over his life while losing a sense of time, place, and the fabric of his own reality even. It’s a brilliant piece of art, this movie! The disintegrated and super confusing narrative that reflected what faded memories look like for someone with Dementia was unbelievably heartbreaking and beautiful. You can experience everything that Anthony experiences so deeply that it’s impossible to stay detached. The Father also portrays how heart-wrenching it is for caretakers to look after someone suffering from Dementia.
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