O, The Father, Where Art Thou?

The Stream: This movie is very “deliberately” paced, aka slow.

The Big Screen: Anthony Hopkins gives a heartbreaking performance.

The Final Bill: An emotional film with an intriguing point of view.

– Trip Fontaine
Director: Florian Zeller
Writers: Christopher Hampton (screenplay by), Florian Zeller (play) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Anthony HopkinsOlivia ColmanMark Gatiss | See full cast & crew »
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 1 hour 32 minutes
Platform: 26 February 2021 (USA)

Here we are, Streamers, just a few days before the 2020/2021 Academy Awards ceremony, which is on Sunday. I have seen all of the films nominated for Best Picture; and, this is the review of The Father, which is the last one I was able catch up on. It’s nominated for 6 awards on Sunday, including: Best Picture, Actor and Adapted Screenplay. Let’s see if this movie is worthy of all the accolades.

The Father is an adaption of a play of the same name directed by Florian Zeller, who is both the playwright and screenwriter. It tells the story of a man in the throes of dementia and the struggles endured by his worried daughter as she navigates the decline of his mental faculties. The man’s mind is unreliable, which makes it more difficult for him to determine what is really happening as his world transforms around him. Anthony Hopkins plays the titular Father, who is named Anthony; and Olivia Colman plays his daughter, Anne.

Streamers, I’ll be honest – I got a little sleepy watching The Father. I’m actually surprised that it is 1 hour and 32 minutes because it feels longer than that. Now, I don’t think that means it is bad, or boring, maybe I was just tired. I will say that The Father can be repetitious and confusing. It seems like that is the point though. Zeller seems to be exploring from both sides of dementia in the two characters of Anthony and Anne. All of the technical aspects of the movie enhance his objective, including the editing and production design. The thing about an adaptation of a play is that it can feel static and claustrophobic. Both are true here, but again, Anthony’s emerging dementia lends itself to being depicted in a static, repetitious and claustrophobic way. The filmmakers have used these things and other clever devices to their advantage. The problem is that a casual viewer may get lost and distracted by it all. I think that happened to me.

On the upside, Anthony Hopkins is really good in his portrayal. His accolades are well-deserved. Hopkins provides the glimpse into the terror and confusion of losing oneself. Ultimately, it is a deeply affecting and heartbreaking performance.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

If you are an Oscars completist and feel like you have to see all of the films nominated for Best Picture, then The Father is not a waste of time. Plus, it is short – although it may not at times feel that way. There are interesting ideas about mental health and the care of our parents that permeate throughout; but, if you are not invested, you may get as lost and confused as Anthony – or sleepy like me. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worthy of a bowl of popcorn – at least if you rent it from the comfort of your couch.