The Father has received six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Film Editing and Best Production Design. Director and writer, Florian Zeller delivers a film that is touching, emotional, and brilliant. Anthony Hopkins is fantastic as Anthony (the main character) and Olivia Colman is also outstanding as Anne (Anthony’s daughter). The film is a tour-de-force of emotions as it navigates the challenges that Colman’s character must deal with due to her father’s denial of his health and memory issues. Anne tries to maintain taking care of him, but she knows he may need to live in a home. Hopkins is stellar as his character struggles with what is going on in his everyday life and tries to put together the pieces of events that may or may not have happened. The film leaves a trail of questions and concerns as the frustrations and emotions build between Anthony and Anne.
Anthony is in his 80s and refuses any kind of assistance that is offered to him as he ages. Anne tries to provide for him, but she tries to help him maintain normalcy in his life. The hardest element for Anthony is that as his mind deteriorates, his doubts of who is there for him starts to blur and the way he sees reality declines. Anne hires someone to come and help him and that person is Laura played by Imogen Poots. Anthony’s obnoxious behavior and opinionated sense of humor starts to push the boundaries of both Laura and his own daughter. Worst of all, however, are the many times when Anthony gets confused and can’t distinguish what is reality.
The Father is setup as if the audience is watching a play, and that is because it is written as a play. I found the many moments showing frustration by Hopkins’ and Colman’s characters almost surreal. They portray many of their emotions as if they are happening in the present moment. It is so well done that I can envision this film leading to Oscars for Actor in a Leading Role, Best Supporting Actress, and Adapted Screenplay. The acting in The Father is both thought-provoking and spellbinding. The question that it leaves with its audience is whether Anthony be OK without the extra assistance.
The Father is an amazing film. I found myself questioning who to trust with the difficult question about caring for the character Hopkins portrays. The truth is there are no easy right or wrong answers, it is more a matter of f trying to find ways to help Anthony feel connected and provide him support without allowing him to chase people away with his rude behavior. It is a touching portrayal of the aging process and relationship between a father and daughter story. The film will make viewers cry, but also laugh in amusement at the unexpected catastrophes that occur. Three and a half stars for The Father.