Heart wrenching and sad because of how real it feels
THE FATHER (2021)
There aren’t many films that I’ve seen quite like Florain Zellers’ The Father. I don’t remember the last time a film left me so overwhelmed with sadness and longing to hug someone through the screen. A friend recently asked me if it was for the faint of heart. I told them how I sobbed for fifteen minutes after it ended so probably not, but that I truly believe everyone should see it anyway.
The Father is told from the eyes of someone who suffers dementia. It’s heartbreaking and at times gut wrenching, hitting a little too close to home at times. But with all that pulling at my heartstrings, I found solace in the film’s determination to capture a hard reality without making a spectacle of it. Normally I’m not one for movies that feel slow, but this one uses it’s drawn out pace to its advantage. Overall it offers an honest perspective to anyone on the outside or personally tied to similar situations.
Anne is struggling with the choice leaving her father Antony in a nursing home after deciding to move to a different country. Antony attempts to grapple with this news whilst fighting through his onset dementia. I don’t want to say too much because this is a unique experience that I don’t want to take away from anyone. There are so many ways this film can be perceived. What I do appreciate about this story is the ways that it keeps you actively engaged, while being extremely emotionally driven through carefully detailed dialogue and action.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Anthony Hopkins blows it out of the water, yet again. The entire time he pulls you in and makes you feel the confusion and pain he is carrying. Olivia Coleman as Anne is the most vulnerable I have seen her in recent years. They are both true legends in my book and it was so nice to see them flow together so eloquently. Also a quick shout out to Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, and Olivia Williams for compelling performances that played so well into the visual mechanisms of the story.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The way the production design plays into what’s happening and helps key us in at all times. As Antony’s surroundings change, the fabric of his reality starts to mesh with what he believes to be real based on what he struggles to remember. This is one of those films where every aspect of the story is important in the experience. Along with the cinematography moving naturally through the space with us, the color scheming, setting, and set dressing play a moving and impactful role.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The score is an opera of sadness to say the least. It is supposed to replicate the music Antony listens to in his personal time, like we see in his first scene. It’s also a bit of a nod to the visual map the film is constantly painting for us. The sound design also plays into the entire trajectory of Antony’s reality by not emphasizing the ambience, but rather having none at all.
This movie is heart wrenching and sad because of how real it feels, however, it's what makes the film so strong. I advise to go into this with an open mind and heart. This will be a film that will be perceived in many different ways, and hopefully sparking important discussion on the topics presented.
THE FATHER is set to hit theaters Friday, February 26th.