#REVIEW: “THE FATHER”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Florian Zeller adapted his own Play with Screenwriter Christopher Hampton and also directs riveting Feature, The Father. There are very few films that have the ability to resonate as powerfully as this. Truly, the Film is something rare and remarkable. Career-defining performances from its two leads tell a sobering tale of life’s fragility.
The Film focuses on Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), a stubborn elderly man who wants to prove to everyone, but his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) that he is absolutely fine and capable of taking care of himself in his deteriorating age. Anthony keeps going through caregivers, sending them running with his aggressive attitude. Some are reduced to tears from baseless accusations, him acosting them of theft. He has become increasingly difficult and resists any form of help that doesn’t come from his daughter Anne. To further complicate matters, he sees visions of a Man (Mark Gatiss) and a Woman (Olivia Williams) who in fact are not there, and don’t exist in the world we originally see him in.
The Father is a heartbreaking look at what it is like for a child to be the caregiver of a loved one, weighing between what one has to do for themselves versus the well-being of their parent.
Hopkins is in a class all of his own. However, his characterization and performance of Anthony in The Father is his most haunting, brilliant performance in recent memory. His delivery of a man who has lost touch of reality, unable to distinguish between what is real from the projections in his mind, to his declining state of mental awareness is something many of us can relate to. The Film balances delicately the notions of doing what is best for one’s self versus what is best for a loved one and it is never an easy discussion.
Colman’s performance is a true tour-de-force. Her character Anne embodies the stuff of every child’s worst nightmare. Her performance is nothing shy of perfection and the chemistry she shares with Hopkins feels lived-in and authentic.
The Father is a masterclass in acting and storytelling. It is uncomfortable, which means that is is effective in being thought-provoking and stays with you long after viewing it. It is brilliant and impactful.
Elevation Pictures release THE FATHER in theatres on Friday, March 19, 2021 (where permitted) and on Digital and On-Demand Friday, March 26, 2021.