Anthony Hopkins just doesn’t make bad or even mediocre movies. If we consider the four Golden Globes nominations for “The Father” and the additional six nominations from the Oscar voters, the professionals in the industry think a lot of this film.
Director and screenplay writer Florian Zeller hails from exotic France. He is regarded as the leading French playwright of his generation. He also writes novels. Here, in his first time up as a film director, he knocks one into the bleachers.
Hopkins plays a man of exactly his actual age of 84 who lives with his daughter, played by British actress Olivia Colman. “The Father” suffers from dementia. The film is a long tragic slide into an even more heartbreaking tragedy. World-class acting makes this experience for the audience more vivid with writing and direction that puts the viewers right into the room to witness the events as they occur. We get some unpleasant truths brought right to us by experts at storytelling. We do not much enjoy the tale.
The experience of watching the slow decline of “The Father” for the audience seems a lot like watching a kitten (the personality of the victim) inch by inch being devoured by a python (dementia.) The film takes us down this journey with no hope of survival. It does not comfort one to think that this journey happens every day to hundreds of thousands of victims and to the people who love them.
One ray of sunshine came in the movie when the dementia victim imagined Imogen Poots as his nurse.
Made with a Hollywood slender budget of only $20 million, the film has returned only $1 million in this, the second plague year. It runs for one hour and 37 minutes. This five sawblade film carries a mild PG-13 rating. The theme however is powerful and might be too much for younger people to absorb. They say that art must have the power to engage our emotions. This must be art, even if the emotions engaged are pity for all those impacted by dementia and terror that it might come one’s own way.
Florian Zeller adapted this film from his French language stage play “Le Pere.” He brought in playwright and scriptwriter (“Dangerous Liaisons”) Christopher Hampton to help with the English language script.
Colman receives her second Oscar nomination with “The Father” and Hopkins, his fifth. Additionally, Hopkins has one Oscar win with “Silence of the Lambs.”