Film Review – The Father (2020)

Title – The Father (2020)

Director – Florian Zeller (feature debut)

Cast – Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Coleman, Olivia Williams, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell

Plot – The aging Anthony (Hopkins) begins to lose track of reality and of his own memories as his loving daughter Anne (Coleman) tries to give him the best care she can in the trying circumstances.

“Paris. They don’t even speak English there”

Review by Eddie on 19/04/2021

The last 20 years have not been an overly memorable time for the screen icon that is Sir Anthony Hopkins.

If you take away his impressive turns in the well-received 2019 drama The Two Popes and the hugely enjoyable New Zealand biopic from 2005 The World’s Fastest Indian, Hopkins last two decades have seen the esteemed performer lower his colors in a range of forgettable features that have failed to utilize the skill and strengths of an aged yet still considerable talent.

Thankfully the multi-Oscar nominated and critically lauded The Father, directed by debut feature director Florian Zeller (adapting his own stage play of the same name) gives Hopkins a chance to deliver what could just be his best ever performance; a huge call I know when you weigh up his Oscar winning turn in The Silence of the Lambs, but his devastatingly beautiful and unforgettable turn here as the dementia stricken Anthony is a once in a blue moon type occurrence.

One of the most honest and raw examinations of growing old and losing ones sense of identity and purpose, The Father features Hopkins in almost every single scene of its mostly apartment based setting as Anthony’s loose tracking of time, events and even his loved ones leads to a surprisingly intricate narrative that may feel familiar in parts but utterly unique in the way in which Zeller explores Anthony’s tale and tells the story from his fractured point of view.

Ably supported by the always great Olivia Coleman (quickly becoming one of the most effective performers in Hollywood) and some small turns from the likes of Olivia Williams, Imogen Poots and Rufus Sewell, there’s no mistake that The Father is Hopkins film and lives and dies off his performance but at the age of 83 the screen legend proves that he still has what it takes to handle drama, comedy and the human element that makes his turn so noteworthy here.

There are moments when Hopkins turns the dial almost instantaneously between cool, calm and collected and either aggressively assertive or forlorn and lost and there’s barely a chance that you walk away from this experience without being moved by his incredibly well-rounded turn here, delivering a performance for the ages that will touch many of us personally who have seen someone just like Anthony in our lives, lost within themselves as their mind no longer allows them to be who they once were.

Final Say – 

A stagey but nevertheless captivating drama that explores the often unspoken about truths of growing old and coming to terms with ones mortality/frailty, The Father is top-class stuff and a stunning reminder of the skill Hopkins still possesses as a big screen performer.

4 1/2 watches out of 5 

4 responses to “Film Review – The Father (2020)

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