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Arts and Culture

'The Father' Review With Casey

I have a heart of charred stone, so I rarely get emotional watching films. But this one had me on the edge of tears. The Father is an emotionally stunning family drama about a charming elderly man fighting to hang on to his daughters and his home in spite of his increasing memory problems.

The Father is directed by Florian Zeller, a French playwright and theater director who wrote the play The Father on which this film is based. The play was first produced in 2012 in Paris and was first adapted into the French language film Florida in 2015.

The despondent psychological struggles of aging have been shown with sensitivity and firmness in contemporary film before like Iris (2001) with Judi Dench, Robot & Frank (2012) with Frank Langella, and Nebraska (2013) with Bruce Dern. But The Father shows the anxieties of memory loss and dementia only through the man living with it. Through elegant distortions of time, location, and relationships, the viewer is forced into the stress, confusion, and unease of old age just like the main character (a dynamic Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes, 2019). 

 

Almost the entire film is shot in the rooms of the same apartment, but the emotional ground covered in that confining space feels so vast, going from angry frustration to a fearful longing. The Father will remind viewers why love matters and why relationships should be cared for. The Father is currently playing in selected movie theaters throughout northern Utah and will be available through on-demand streaming services starting March 26.

 

If Chadwick Boseman wasn't nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars this year (for his ruthless portrayal in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins would have a very strong chance of winning in this category. Anthony Hopkins has also made history at the Oscars this year, being the oldest man to ever be nominated in the Best Actor category at the age of 83. The Father has received five other Oscar nominations this year including Best Picture.