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Overview: With a great Anthony Hopkins, ‘The Father’ is a haunting exploration of dementia

Overview: With a great Anthony Hopkins, ‘The Father’ is a haunting exploration of dementia

Published 12: 00 p.m. ET Feb. 24, 2021


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Anthony Hopkins stars as a man with dementia attempting to make sense of a changing reality around him and Olivia Colman is his daughter in ‘The Father.’


What would it now not really feel wish to now not watch your contain daughter? Or secure your apartment oddly changing into a place of strange discomfort? While movies often tackle the outcomes of dementia or Alzheimer’s on patients and their families, director Florian Zeller’s drama “The Father” reaches fresh heights by hanging its audience up shut and very personal with the confusion and palpable terror of dropping one’s memory.

With exceptional filmmaking and Anthony Hopkins’ greatest performance since “Nixon,” “The Father” (★★★★ out of four; rated PG-13; in New York and LA theaters Friday, expanding nationwide March 12, on video on demand March 26) is an immersive character ogle of an aged man struggling to rationalize his existence as he loses his grip on the individuals and things around him. But it’s also a transferring exploration of how adolescents become caretakers for their parents, with Olivia Colman turning in a standout role as a daughter weighing the hard decision about whether to are residing her contain lifestyles or give it up for her dad.

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Zeller weaves in parts of psychological apprehension and even a thriller element to position his main character (and us) on edge constantly, and while the drama goes to a couple disturbing places (including incidents of elder abuse), at its core it is very powerful about like and the vitality of empathy.

Played by Hopkins, Anthony (yep, that’s the on-display mask elder gentleman’s name, too) is an 80-year-stale Londoner residing in a posh apartment. He listens to classical tune, has a favorite watch that doubles as a safety blanket of sorts, but can’t fend for himself anymore attributable to his ailing mental health. He also has a tendency to roll through caregivers, having threatened his last one, and Anthony’s daughter Anne (Colman) wants him to meet a fresh nurse because she’s quickly transferring to Paris with a fresh like. “You’re abandoning me. What is going to become of me?” a visibly freaked-out Anthony says.

Soon after she leaves, he’s in the kitchen, hears a door slam and confronts a stranger (Mark Gatiss) sitting and reading a newspaper. This man Paul says he’s Anne’s husband, although this is news to Anthony. The stale man suspects that Anne’s “cooking one thing” against him and wants to circulate him into a dwelling, and his daughter comes in the course of the door but it’s another woman (Olivia Williams) that he doesn’t watch.

“The Father” suitable gets more unnerving from there as Anthony tries to make sense of it all while the film gradually reveals the cracks in his constantly shifting reality, and his personality veers wildly from moment to moment. When Anthony meets his fresh caregiver Laura (Imogen Poots), whom he thinks resembles his youthful daughter Lucy, he flirts and does a miniature soft shoe but on a dime activates her and cruelly mentions that she shares Lucy’s “habit of laughing inanely.”

Hopkins is astounding when navigating all these various states of thoughts – from righteous anger to withering spitefulness to a baby-like vulnerability – that play out as Anthony loses sustain watch over of his lifestyles. Although the part isn’t conventionally showy, Hopkins gets to the contact every bit of the emotional spectrum and the end result is as indelible a role as when Hopkins donned Hannibal’s mask and gained an Oscar for “The Silence of the Lambs.”

Colman, a couple of years removed from taking greatest actress for “The Favourite,” is also understatedly amazing as a woman dealing with all of this. And it all takes a toll: Paul (typically Gatiss, typically Rufus Sewell) resents Anthony’s presence and pushes Anne to carry out one thing about him, Anne has to soft things over when Anthony insults his nurse, and most achingly, her father doesn’t even know who she is half the time.

Sneakily utilizing manufacturing gain and uncanny legal editing, “The Father” fascinatingly puts the viewer in the same state of distress as its main character. And in adapting his contain play, the director’s carried over an intimate quality of a staged chamber drama to now not suitable reveal a man dealing with dementia but also offer a way into his thoughts with a haunting, deeply affecting and moderately memorable narrative.


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Overview: With a great Anthony Hopkins, ‘The Father’ is a haunting exploration of dementia