With ‘The Father’, French writer-director Florian Zeller does something unique in cinema history—he puts us into the mind of an elderly man named Anthony (the astounding Anthony Hopkins, who, if there is any justice in Hollywood, should waltz away with the Best Actor Oscar) suffering from dementia and then manages to convey to us the harrowing and disorientating subjectivity of what it is to slowly succumb to this soul-destroying condition. Characters change faces and bodies, the apartment setting shifts orientation, and life becomes an increasingly difficult puzzle for Anthony to put together—and we are with him all the way… The great Olivia Colman is Anthony’s frustrated daughter, whose own life has been put on hold to deal with the ever-growing needs of her irascible dad. This is a deeply affecting filmmaking anchored in Hopkins’ soulful performance.
‘It’s astounding, heartbreaking work, watching [Hopkins’ Anthony] try to rationally explain to himself and those around him what he’s experiencing… Hopkins runs the full gamut from fury to outrage to upset and never once does it feel like a constructed character bit, despite our association with him as an actor with a storied career. It’s breathtaking…’—Benjamin Lee, Guardian