Review | The Father movie review: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman star in masterful dementia drama
- Anthony Hopkins is mesmerising as an aged man suffering from dementia in a story that stays one step ahead of the viewer until the closing devastating scenes
- The Crown’s Olivia Colman stars as his daughter in a deeply compassionate but devastating tale that explores the effects that forgetting a life has on a family
Hopkins plays Anthony, an 80-year-old living in a well-appointed London flat. His daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) arrives with some difficult news. She is moving to Paris to be with her partner; the time has come it seems for her father to be in a nursing home.
No sooner has the scene finished and Zeller and his esteemed co-writer Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons) hit us with a curveball. Anthony encounters a sleek urbane man (played by Sherlock star Mark Gatiss) in his living room. His daughter’s husband, it seems. Then Anne returns, except it’s not the same woman we’ve met before (she’s now played by Olivia Williams). And she was divorced five years ago. Confusion cracks over Anthony’s crestfallen face. Who are these people?
The supporting cast all excel – Williams, who has been overlooked in the awards season scrum, is particularly good in a role that only comes into focus in the final moments. But by no means is The Father an easy watch, as anyone who has witnessed a parent suffering from dementia will attest. It’s a horror film in the realest sense. Yet there’s something deeply compassionate and humane at its core. It won’t fail to move you.
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