Director; Florian Zeller. Starring; Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Coleman, Mark Gatiss. Color. PG-13. 97 minutes.
“The Father” is one of the most interesting pictures I have seen in year’s. Every point in which I thought I had what was going to happen and expecting locked in I was dead wrong. This is a fascinating take on what happens when we all eventually get old. It goes through the journey of one’s mind going south during the final stage of life with the filmmaker’s instead of just telling the story which is what most like this do. “The Father” conceptualizes what losing your mind is like by also making the audience confused in a brilliant way.
Anthony Hopkins stars as, well Anthony. He is deep into the final legs of his life. His daughter Anne (Olivia Coleman) is coming into her final legs of having to take care of her dementia plagued father. He has become a burden far too hard to handle on a daily basis. Plus Anne’s a-hole elitist husband Paul (Rufus Sewell) has had it up to the roof living with his deranged father-in-law.
As the story unfolds various characters such as ‘The Man’ (Mark Gatiss) continue to appear in many different facets of Anthony’s life. We continue to become more and more confused just like the old man. Along with ‘The Man’, Anthony is also suddenly confronted by ‘The Woman’ and is told that this is actually their house. At first distraught, Anthony calms down only to suddenly find his real life daughter married and living with them. The old man continues to ask about his other daughter, but it is never fully explained if she is alive, dead, or even exists. The non-linear storyline is like trying to find a single person in the crowd at the Super Bowl. Everywhere you turn its somebody else.
“The Father” is absolutely an actors movie. The opening exchange between Coleman and Hopkins is breathtaking. The entire cast is in top form, but Hopkins is a total triumph. His depiction of the cruelty that can come with old age hits right at the heart. The cinematography by Ben Smithhard is also quietly powerful. He often frames characters as though they feel boxed in, similar to our main character. Without a doubt, “The Father” is one of the best films about the elderly ever crafted.