The Father is a drama co-written and directed by Florian Zeller, based on his 2012 play Le Père. A French-British co-production. The Father follows an aging man who must deal with his progressing memory loss. The Father takes a very realistic look from the patient to the caretaker’s point of view. As a person digresses into a vacuum of Alzheimer’s disease, their loved ones are also profoundly impacted. The Father is an eyeopener. I think it’s important to know the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s, briefly described below: Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a specific disease. Dementia is not. As Alzheimer’s advances, symptoms get more severe and include disorientation, confusion, and behavior changes. Eventually, speaking, swallowing, and walking becomes difficult. There is no way to prevent, cure, or even slow Alzheimer’s disease.
Anne (Olivia Colman) visits her father Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) in his flat after he becomes combative with his recent caretaker. Anthony is suffering from dementia and constantly forgets important life events and where things are around his flat, including his watch, which he places in the same place every day. He tells his daughter that he’s sure his recent caretaker stole his watch and also informs Anne that he doesn’t ever plan to leave his flat. After sitting down with Anthony to have a serious conversation, Anne tells him that she has a boyfriend and plans to move from London and live in Paris to be with her new love. Anthony is confused, stating she’s already married to James. Anne tells him she has been divorced from James for five years.
The next day, Anthony sees an unknown man named Paul (Mark Gatiss) and is confused as to why Paul is living in his flat. Paul states that Anthony lives with him and Anne. Anne returns from the market with chicken for dinner and appears as a different woman (Olivia Williams). This confuses Anthony to the point of frustration. Anne schedules an interview at Anthony’s flat for a new caretaker, Laura (Imogen Poots). Anthony claims he was a professional tap dancer and that he doesn’t need any living assistance while he shows her a few taps. Anthony later states after she is hired that she reminds him of his other daughter Lucy (Imogen Poots), whom he hasn’t communicated with for several months, he has no idea why.
Throughout The Father, one may get a little confused due to whose version you believe, Anthony or reality. The problem is you may not know which is which. By the end of the movie you should have answers to questions like whose flat was Anthony really living in, and why he hasn’t heard from Lucy, or why did Paul and Anne really get divorced, and what actually happens to Anthony. The story is heartfelt and somewhat depressing however, dementia is so common we all need to face these harsh realities in order to help us make the best decision when the time comes, if necessary. Anthony Hopkins is one of the best actors on the planet so it comes to no surprise that he was beyond believable in The Father. At the 78th Golden Globe Awards, the film received four nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 98% of 173 critic reviews were positive, with an average rating of 8.6/10. The website’s critic’s consensus reads: “Led by stellar performances and artfully helmed by writer-director Florian Zeller, The Father presents a devastatingly empathetic portrayal of dementia.” I highly recommend The Father which is in some select theaters and streams on Amazon Prime Video to rent for $20 — Check It Out!
[THE FATHER is Oscar-nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best: Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress, Production Design, Film Editing, and Adapted Screenplay — Totaling 6 Nominations]