Kishore Karanam archive  

The Father: Hopkins is Phenomenal

October 28, 2021.


I have seen many horror/thriller films, but nothing gave me the chills as the father despite it being a drama. The Father is an extremely well-crafted film with top-notch performances from the cast, especially from the legendary Anthony Hopkins. Zellar did an impeccable job with the screenplay that helps us feel Anthony's utterly heartbreaking struggle with dementia.

The Father opens very normally as we see Anthony, a retired engineer who lives in his mid-luxury apartment. He gets regular visits from his affectionate daughter Anne (brilliantly portrayed by Olivia Coleman), who tells him that she's moving to Paris and wants him to stay at an institution. But this is where things start to turn perplexed as we get to see Anne again, only now played by Olivia Williams, and neither we nor Anthony seems to recognize her. Thanks to Zellar's extremely clever screenplay, the whole 97 minutes, we feel what Anothony is feeling, which is utter bewilderment. As the movie unfolds, we see a strange man (played by Mark Gatiss) claiming to be Anne's husband, but we same with Anthony aren't sure as it's shown that Anne is divorced or wait, is she? It becomes increasingly difficult what Anthony is imagining and what is actually happening. This is what makes "The Father" truly scary, as we are inside Anthony's head throughout. People morph into other people; situations get elided; a scene which had appeared to follow the previous one sequentially turns out to have preceded it, or to be Anthony’s delusion or his memory of something else.

The beauty of "The Father" is how Director, Florian Zeller, takes you into this descent of losing your grip on reality through the eyes of Anthony. It's a daring move to tell the story from the perspective of Anthony's character as his mind increasingly deteriorates. The patience, frustration, hurt and unwavering love depicted while Anne tries to find the best way to care for her father is just remarkable. And finally, the most devastating scene of the movie is the climax, which is basically an acting masterclass from Sir Anthony Hopkins! boy oh boy, this scene is just hauntingly tragic as we see Anthony break down, finally accepting his demise by saying, "I feel as if I'm losing all my leaves"...

To conclude, The Father is a clever and devastating film. Though it's hard watch, it's extremely worth it. Zellar has a bright future in film-making, and at 83, it is not a mistake to say that Anthony Hopkins is at his peak!