Florian Zeller’s The Father is a uniquely chilling psychological drama.
Sir Anthony Hopkins stars as the father left angry, scared and confused as his life and surroundings seem ever changing, with Olivia Colman playing his daughter Anne, and Rufus Sewell as her husband Paul.
But then, just as soon as we’re settled into the film, another woman, played by Olivia Williams, appears, claiming to be Anthony’s daughter, with Mark Gatiss’ character claiming to be Paul.
So which do we believe? Anthony is certain someone’s playing a cruel trick on him, but this unknown woman seems to share the same memories as his daughter.
Suddenly, nothing is certain. He knows he’s in his own flat, and that Anne has been coming to visit him, but suddenly she’s claiming it’s her place and that he’s had to move in with her.
Nothing stands still – paintings that were once positioned in one spot are now in another and rooms don’t look the same as before.
Olivia Colman stars alongside Sir Anthony (Picture: AP)
While Anne previously told her father all about going to Paris, she later denies all memory of the conversation. And most irritatingly for Anthony, someone has definitely been stealing his watch and no one believes him.
We’re brought full force into Anthony’s confusion, panic, sadness and rage as he struggles to keep a grip on his reality, and begins to doubt those closest to him.
It’s only in the final scenes of the movie that anything starts to make sense – and to come crashing down to reality is absolutely heartbreaking.
It’s a chilling watch (Picture: AP)
Sir Anthony’s performance is completely Oscar-worthy, communicating everything from distress to resignation in a single look.
Director and co-writer Zeller is remarkable in the way he envelopes us in this claustrophobic world where nothing is as you remember it.
The film is a powerful representation of old age and dementia, and a welcome difference from the tropes of characters suddenly starting to forget that they’d left the stove on, or where they’ve left their keys.
Certainly, it’s a more empathetic look at the illness than passing plot lines in other TV shows and films have seemed.
While it’s a difficult and heartbreaking watch at times, it’s one that also deserves plenty of recognition, and one that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.
The Father is set for release in the UK on June 11.
Credit: Original article published here.