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Rated 3.14 stars
by 22 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Inside Look at Dimentia
by Betty Jo Tucker

The Father, a current Best Picture Oscar® nominee, stars the great Anthony Hopkins (Oscar® winner for Silence of the Lambs) in one of his finest performances. But beware. This compelling drama is definitely NOT a feel-good offering. However, it is deeply moving and enlightening. Like Sound of Metal, the storytelling involves what’s going on in the lead character’s mind, only this time instead of hearing loss, it deals with loss of memory.

Many viewers may think they are losing that faculty themselves as the film unfolds. Some scenes appear completely baffling. But that helps us understand what Hopkins’ character “Anthony” is going through.  For example, he’s mixed up about time and place, experiences violent mood changes, distrusts the people around him, sees things that aren’t there, and can’t recognize folks he’s known for a long time or thinks they are someone else.  

He can’t remember many things.

Confusing facts each daylight brings.

  He likes to follow with the time.

Is someone committing a crime?


His daughter tries to care for him.

But her luck with this plan grows dim.

What can she do to make things right?

At every turn, Father will fight.


“The Father” is deeply moving.

But the story not so soothing.

This movie makes us feel not think.

     Please pay attention and don’t blink.

Portraying Ann, the long-suffering daughter, Oscar® winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite) also turns in a brilliant performance here. Her suffering as a caretaker seems heartbreaking, especially when Anthony brags about his younger daughter and consistently shows he favors her over Ann. No wonder Colman and Hopkins both earned well-deserved Oscar® nominations for their splendid work in this film.

Hopkins excels at being charming one minute and downright mean immediately after. (Be sure to watch for his short tap dancing demonstration. I’m not kidding!) Colman matches that with her soulful facial expressions whenever Anthony hurts Ann’s feelings.

The Father ends with a simple plea of compassion for both Anthony and Ann. You can’t go wrong with that.      .    

Florian Zeller directed and co-wrote the screenplay (with Christopher Hampton), which is based on Zeller’s play. Although I haven’t seen the play, I can’t help wondering if watching something like this live would be even more gripping. Still, the movie’s revealing close-ups in crucial scenes stand out and grab our emotions. And that’s the beauty of cinema. 

The great tragedy of Alzheimer’s disease and the reason why we dread it is that it leaves us with no defense, not even against those that love us. --- P.D. James

(Released by Sony Pictures Classic. Rated “PG-13” by MPAA.)

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