The Father (I) (2020)

PG-13   |    |  Drama

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Releases December 18, 2020

The Father (2020) Poster

A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.


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11 October 2020 | bastille-852-731547
| Well-acted dementia drama
I'm a big fan of Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman, so I was really looking forward to this one after it got rave reviews out of Sundance. This film is based on a stage play, and centers around a woman in a relationship who visits her aging father, who is beginning to show signs of dementia, in London due to concerns that he can no longer take care of herself. Narratively, it's not always as memorable as one would hope, but the strong performances and careful direction carry the film home at the end of the day and overall craft something certainly worth watching.

Anthony Hopkins is undoubtedly terrific here. He is able to convey both frailty yet genuine shock and empathy, while trying to better understand those around him that even he regularly connects with. Colman's performance is compassionate yet multi-layered, conveying clear emotional depth. The film's aesthetic is simple, modest and unpretentious, yet it manages to skillfully and quietly play a role within the film as a whole by adding to an atmosphere of confusion about what is real and what is not real due to Hopkins' character's dementia. The screenplay is generally well-written, but the dialogue is not quite as sharp or powerful as one would hope. Despite a fleeting running time, the film is leisurely paced, which is fine because it allows viewers the ability to take in the details of the characters' interpersonal relations. Yet while very moving in parts, the story doesn't quite build up to a true emotional crescendo that one would expect from a powerful, character-driven drama. That said, the acting combined with a thoughtful tone of generally subdued reverence makes the film very worthwhile viewing. 7.5/10

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