The Father

Where to Watch Anthony Hopkins' 'The Father' Movie

The Father is practically a psychological horror movie, depicting the decaying psyche of an old man, battered by dementia. The Father tends pretty grimly, but its excellent lead performance from Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and the film’s structural fluidity set it apart from similarly bleak dramas about the dilapidating mental functions of a senior citizen.

Anthony (Played by Anthony Hopkins) at first glance, an ordinary elderly man, in the waning years of his life, awaiting his daughter’s arrival (Played by Olivia Colman) to discuss her new living arrangements. This all serves as a prelude to the mental and emotional fireworks. From there, everything becomes a lot less concrete. Faces of loved ones morph, the layout of Anthony’s apartment shifts, Anne gains a husband and Anthony is introduced to an in-home care person who bears a striking resemblance to his youngest daughter who may or may not be dead. As dementia wreaks havoc on his subconscious, Anthony’s only attachment to reality becomes a watch he keeps misplacing, an almost perfect metaphor for Anthony’s spiraling reality.

The Father commits itself to depicting the realities of dementia through oft-surreal ripples in the consciousness of its protagonist. That first sign that things are amiss in Anthony’s flat is quite alarming and so, so well-executed, a slight, but perceptible alteration to what we’ve been told by Anthony’s daughter about why she’s come to see her father, that becomes a dire sign for what’s to come as minuscule shifts balloon into far more concerning and substantial lapses in memory that we witness through Anthony’s point of view.

Anthony Hopkins is the focus of this movie and Hopkins’s performance is a consistently surprising lead performance representative of a film that is just as unpredictable. He doesn’t play it too big even in the very erratic and sporadic launches between an almost effortless effervescence and the prickly, defensive edge that comes to the surface whenever his self-sufficiency comes into question. Hopkins not only has to channel a frequently changing demeanor but a frame of mind. He goes from distant, resigned in his cloud of seemingly eternal confusion, to in your face, saying truly cruel things to his daughter and finding himself reduced to tears, calling out for his mother. It’s no secret we’re nearing Oscar season and Hopkins’ turn here is poised to reap some awards, unlike other performances that often find themselves in a similar position, there isn’t that moment that feels like he’s reaching, attempting to milk an enthralling monologue or moment within the material. Hopkins’s performance stays in line even in its frequent transformations within his mind and mood, everything feels of a piece with that character. He is just as compelling as when he putters down a hallway as when he explodes at his daughter, the person who cares for him most. Speaking of his character’s daughter, Olivia Colman is in this too and she’s good! Her performance is almost all nuance, amidst her father’s declaration of his preference for her sister over the daughter in earshot who’s taken care of him, a palpable look of dejection spreads across her face, Colman’s strength, as an actress lies in her conviction, whether it’s the queen of England or a local detective, it’s the poise she possesses that has shaped so many of her roles. She has that same poise in The Father, but the real key to her performance here is in the moments that poise slips, the cracks in the armor brought about by her father’s outbursts, a person who gives her father so much to make sure he’s taken care of and gets nothing back. It’s a really complicated and interesting perspective and it’s almost to the film’s detriment that Anthony’s point of view is so distinctive and encompasses so much of the movie and it spends so little time with Anne.

The Father applies precision to the unraveling of an old man’s reality. You can see The Father where theaters are open on March 12th and it will be available on Video On Demand platforms starting March 26th.

The Father movie review & film summary (2021) | Roger Ebert

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