The Father | Review


"What's going to become of me?" a question people will ask themselves periodically throughout their lifetime. Anthony Hopkins speaks these words to Olivia Colman, playing his daughter, who has explained that she will be moving to Paris. This moment becomes the narrative in Florian Zeller's adaptation of his play, Le Pére, thriving in a vacuum of timeless confusion, placing us deep into the consciousness of Anthony, who has Alzheimer's.  

It is unique in its concept for capturing a somewhat unfamiliar experience where we have grown accustomed to seeing the external forces cope with watching their loved one deteriorate. We are invited into Anthony's confusion as we lose track of faces and reality, unsure of what to believe and whether it is all a cruel joke. 

There is no faulting the performances. Both Hopkins and Colman are unmatched in their ability to delve into the cognisance of their character, embodying every inch of them with earnestness. 

Zeller's direction handles the complexities of bringing the stage to the screen. He honours the lyricism of the source material without alienating the audience. Although it is clear the text belongs to the theatre, the clever specificities and intricacies of costume and design, along with thought-provoking direction from Zeller, make it its own entity. The world is so clear for the director, and therefore, even more enticing for the audience. Anthony's reality is so clear that when it becomes surreal for him, we're no longer sure what is real and what is fiction. It is a rare feat that a director creates a world so complete that every beat lands so flawlessly. 

It tackles the existential question of how to live life against how to take care of the ones we love, and where do we draw that line of doing what is best for ourselves and doing what is best for someone else? Where does that line even begin? 

Hopkins, as the titular role, uses his performance to remind us that our parents were once something more; a son, a lover, a friendly face on the street. As we watch him scramble for the pieces of his memory, we become his distress. We, too, realise that we won't get the answers. 

From every corner of each department, The Father builds upon love and empathy for the human experience.

The Father is set for UK release 11th June 2021 

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