Recommendation: 4/5 SHOWTIME
Plot: “A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.” -IMDB
Review: “The Father” never comes out and directly says what the diagnosis for Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) is as we watch him navigate the fault lines of memory. Based on my own understandings, I believe he is suffering from some form of dementia, but that is beyond the point of this film. Instead, we are asked to see the world as violent, angry, confusing, and heartbreaking. We are asked to see the world through the eyes of someone who cannot trust his own memories.
Anthony Hopkins, for his part, gives one of the best performances of his career. Almost every single scene is manipulated like clay to a master sculptor. Olivia Coleman, who plays Anne (Anthony’s daughter) reacts beautifully as an emotionally exhausted daughter attempting to help her father navigate this new and problematic world. Together, they are a powerhouse that gives this film weight, and the seriousness the subject matter deserves.
As we see the world through the eyes of Anthony, we often find ourselves distracted from the experience, mistrusting the timeline of events, searching for truth, and wondering what is real and what is imagined. This is a tremendous amount of work to ask for an audience, but the payoff in the final scenes is worth the work.
I left the theater with a better understanding of the plight of those suffering from memory loss. I also left with a fear of mine personified. Not since “Still Alice,” have I felt this way. For its ability to make my distant thoughts a reality, I believe this film is worthy of your time. It is bound to open your eyes too.
Be good to each other,