Horrifying in its own way. I haven’t seen a play so well formed for the screens quite like this.
To say that Sir Anthony Hopkins has “still got it” is a total understatement. In The Father, Hopkins does a masterclass performance that literally can be used for Masterclass online courses. I bet you that the behind the scenes look of how Hopkins approached the film (and play) would be an excellent study! However, to refocus on his performance….the guy, the legend, knows how to switch gears in sudden ways. From loss to spark, from madness to empathy. Hopkins does it all.
Furthermore, there have been many admired performances centered on a character dealing with dementia. The difference though? You not only have Hopkins in command of the scenes, but you also have the playwright of the original play, (and now director of the film version of his brainchild) Florian Zeller. He knew exactly how he wanted the play to be shot on film. The details in the editing, the closed spaces at every turn, having the audience not only feel for the character, but to perhaps even have a sense of just how the protagonist “Anthony” feels everything so disorienting and scary. It was incredible to say the least.
Then you have the supporting cast, and in particular Olivia Colman. Albeit in a more reserved role. She does all the right things to express her character’s point of view of the situation. The struggle of letting go, but at the same time not wanting to leave her dad. Furthermore, there are more issues that she has to persevere through than just the obvious main problems that helps make the story apart from the standard. On another side note of the cast, Imogen Poots was excellent in how well she showed her reactions for playing off of Hopkins. There was a subtlety of being “I am going to be the best possible caregiver” and “What the fuck did I get myself into, and will this be worth it.”
So I give The Father a 5/5. Hopkins should win best actor without a doubt. Warning! This movie is heart wrenching.