Some movies stick with viewers long after they've watched it, and "The Father" is one of those films.
Not only does the film's stellar cast shatter your heart into a million pieces, but the screenplay written by director Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton equally stirs the same power.
Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) is 80 years old and lives in a London flat. He disapproves of his daughter, Anne, and prefers her sister despite all the countless hours Anne (Olivia Colman) has taken care of her aging father. But as his grip on reality unravels from dementia, she needs help. But help is hard to come by when Anthony is cheery and charming one minute, then brutal and mean the next.
THE FATHER | Official Trailer (2020) www.youtube.com
The screenplay is poignant, devastating and quick-witted in Zeller's directorial debut.
As Anthony's dementia worsens, it's easy to feel his struggle as his reality shapes with the viewer's point of view. He gets understandably confused when Paul, Anne's boyfriend/husband, is switched out between Mark Gatiss and Rufus Sewell. And then a woman claiming to be Anne (Olivia Williams) walks in with food for dinner later, but the Anne the audience knows is nowhere to be seen.
Hopkins is one of the best, long-time actors in the business, but there's something about his role as Anthony that is mesmerizing. In one memorable scene, Laura (Imogen Poots) a potential caretaker is invited into the flat for an interview. He's charming, funny and inviting until it all twists in an instant for the worse. It's an astounding scene that catches viewers off guard, but it is the heart-dropping scene that lifts Hopkins up the Oscar prediction pools. Colman is equally outstanding, but "The Father" is Hopkins' stage.
With genius creative elements surrounding "The Father," audiences see a story about familial love lost while it still lives.
"The Father" premieres in theaters on Friday, March 12. Viewers can also stream "The Father" starting March 26 on PVOD.
Follow Samantha Incorvaia on Twitter at @s_incorvaia.