The father , by Florian Zeller is a British film with six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor. It is based on a play by the same director, released in 2012.
The core of the idea is simple, an elderly man begins to lose his memory and connection with reality, a situation that causes difficult moments with his family environment, in particular with his daughter, who must make decisions to face these changes . A clear plot and a universal story about old age experiences, an idea that provides good material for the development of dialogues in a theatrical setting and that Zeller intelligently translates into cinematographic language. In the film The father all aspects take on a particular density through the outstanding performance of Anthony Hopkins and especially with the different formal choices regarding the point of view chosen to tell this story.
Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), is a man in his 80s, an engineer who lives alone in a spacious and comfortable London apartment. Since he began to lose his memory, his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) takes care of him, looking for caregivers and nurses who can accompany him. While her father distrusts everyone, denies his problems and resists any assistance, Anne needs solutions to be able to carry out her own life and her projects.
Viewers get to know the story through Anthony’s point of view, who deepens his forgetfulness and confusion as the film progresses, causing him unthinkable and contradictory feelings. The protagonist’s physical and emotional transformation guides the scenes. The story is presented in a fragmentary way, mixing reality and imagination. The audience walks the path of the protagonist and thus experiences confusing and disturbing moments, with attention they must discover the threads, understand the proposed game and also let themselves be carried away by a sensory experience to traverse the plot.
Thus the spaces themselves will change unexpectedly according to Anthony’s memories and imagination. In one scene the walls will be of one color and in the next of another, the paintings will be in different places, the scene will be perceived as the house of a lifetime or a place of passage, all according to the experience that he goes through. The interlocutors will or will not be recognized, caregivers and nurses will resemble daughters or sons-in-law, daily ties will evoke past memories and absent people. Sudden changes also accompany moods, the father it will be warm and friendly at times and then become selfish and authoritarian, all crossed by the sadness of traveling a path of confusion and cognitive deterioration.
Although his daughter Anne and those close to him express affection and solidarity, their reactions will show suspicion and they will seek to face the harsh reality by denying it. In the background, fears and contradictions are expressed that reveal the rules of society. Anthony’s ghosts are related to losing his apartment, trying to deceive him or stealing his watch, the logic of property and mistrust invade his thoughts, they do not leave him alone.
The thematic and formal proposal is strong, a tough subject, which exposes the complexity of going through the problems of old age in a system molded by individualism. In the film, the comfortable economic situation allows the protagonist different options and paths, and he can finally find a place in an institution where they can provide him with adequate care. Outside the screen, the reality is more complex, the vast majority of older adults in working families face contempt from capitalist states, with miserable retirements, destruction of the health system and abandonment, a situation that leaves raised the need for a social and collective response to this problem.
Direction: Florian Zeller
Guion: Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton (Obra: Florian Zeller)
Music: Ludovico Einaudi
Photography: Ben Smithard
Editing: Yorgos Lamprinos
Reparto: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams, Mark Gatiss, Evie Wray, Ayesha Dharker
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The Father, with a powerful performance by Anthony Hopkins