The Father Exploring the horrors of dementia The Mancunion

Chadwick Boseman

The Father The Father of : horrors The – Mancunion Exploring dementia the

Mon, 26 Apr 2021 07:00:00 +0100

Florian Zeller's The Father, starring Anthony Hopkins, is a tense and sensitive exploration of the horrors surrounding dementia


The Father is Florian Zeller’s film adaptation of his own play, starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman. It has been a tank this awards season, garnering numerous nominations, mainly for its performances and screenplay.

The film centres around Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an old man suffering from dementia, and his daughter’s (Olivia Colman) efforts to help him. Anthony’s frequent memory loss and temperamental nature put a significant strain on their relationship, also angering Anne’s husband, Paul.

Where this film truly excels is in how much discomfort it is able to create, combining Anthony’s confusion with repeated shots and even entire sequences, to give the viewer a distorted sense of time. Zeller also uses two different actors playing Paul and Anne at certain points in the film, and then has those same actors reappear as different characters later on, adding to the disorientating feeling the film had been building up for so long.

While I would not call this a horror film by any means, the horror elements employed by Zeller help to create more tension and discomfort than any film released in well over a year. Despite Zeller playing with time, it is still easy to put a timeline of the film together. It is an achievement, as jumping around in time normally leads to some confusion, whereas here it was no more than was intended.

Another exceptional aspect of The Father is obviously the performances. I’m not sure if I need to tell you that Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman are both amazing here, but I will anyways.

Hopkins, despite his character being standoffish and even aggressive at times, manages to get you on his side through the feeling of helplessness that permeates from him every second he’s on screen; whether it’s the main focus of a scene or not, you can’t help but feel bad for him because of what he is going through.

Olivia Colman too is able to convey her character’s conflict in a nuanced and very effective way. Although her character doesn’t like her father’s short temper and tendency to drive away carers, she still won’t abandon him, and wants to continue helping him despite the fact that he upsets her numerous times across the film.

The visuals here stand out as well, the cinematography looks great, and while production design is not something that usually catches my eye, it’s fantastic here. The openness of the flat is an excellent contrast to how trapped the viewer can feel looking through the eyes of Anthony, and it makes the horror elements even more unexpected at the beginning, and therefore all the more frightening.

There are a few twists here that could have felt somewhat emotionally exploitative, but they’re hinted at in such a way that they aren’t a complete shock. I think overall the film is very sensitive towards its subject matter, which is great because dementia is an issue that could easily have felt heavy-handed.

Overall, Florian Zeller’s The Father manages to create what is essentially, but not quite, a horror film, using a real-life illness and handling it in a sensitive manner. The performances, visuals, and screenplay are all brilliant, which is why it’s my favourite of this year’s eight Best Picture nominees, and will be hard to top as my favourite film of 2021 so far.


Words by Dominic Hayes.

Tags: anthony hopkins, British Cinema, dementia, florian zeller, horror, illness, olivia colman, oscars, the father

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The Father

Mon, 26 Apr 2021 07:00:00 +0100

Sir Anthony Hopkins has become the oldest person to win the Best Actor award at 83


The Father was amongst the big winners at the 93rd Academy Awards.

The poignant film follows the story of an elderly man suffering from memory loss with Welsh actor Sir Anthony Hopkins scooping his second Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal at the age of 83.

Like many films, it has had its UK release date delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Here’s what we know about when the film is out, how you can watch it and what it’s about.

The Father is expected to be released in the UK on 11 June by Lionsgate.

It was originally set to be released earlier in the year, but like many films, it had its release date pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It premiered at the Sundance Festival in January 2020.

The Father is expected to be released in cinemas in some parts of the UK from 11 June.

Indoor cinemas are currently expected to open in England and Scotland on 17 May, but no date has been announced yet for Wales and Northern Ireland.

It is possible that the film may also be made available to rent on streaming platforms, but this has not yet been confirmed.

The film stars Sir Anthony as an elderly man who is starting to experience symptoms of dementia.

Fiercely independent, he begins to doubt his own mind but is reluctant to accept help from his daughter, played by Olivia Colman, who also received an Oscar nomination for her role.

The trailer shows his unwillingness to leave his own flat and his struggle coming to terms with his memory loss.

Other cast members include Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams and Mark Gatiss.

Hopkins won the Best Actor award for his leading role in The Father.

It was his second Oscar, which he has won 29 years after his first for The Silence of The Lambs in 1992.

Hopkins, who has become the oldest person to win the prize at the age of 83, did not attend the ceremony but shared a video acceptance speech filmed in Wales.

The actor paid tribute to Chadwick Boseman who died last year aged 43, but had been tipped to win the prize for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Hopkins said: “Here I am in my homeland in Wales, and at 83 years of age I did not expect to get this award, I really didn’t.

“Very grateful to the Academy and thank you, and I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early.

“And again thank you all very much. Really did not expect this, so I feel very privileged and honoured. Thank you.”

The Father, which had six nominations at this year’s Oscars, also won the awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, for Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller.

Earlier this year, the film scooped two BAFTAs, also for Best Leading Actor (Anthony Hopkins) and Best Screenplay (Adapted).

– April 26, 2021
The Father Exploring the horrors of dementia The Mancunion
Chadwick Boseman