Anthony Hopkins deservedly dominated the awards season with his blistering portrayal of a man gradually losing his memory and world to the effects of dementia.
Anthony lives alone. Or perhaps it’s with his daughter and her husband. Or the man she now appears to be in a relationship with. But she is moving away so there’s a carer to look after him. But Anthony seems confused by them. So begins Florian Zeller’s adaptation – with Christopher Hampton – of his own acclaimed stage play. Unlike other films that deal with dementia, The Father is told from the perspective of the person whose whole life is slowly ebbing away from them. So Anthony’s reality becomes ours – a world where individuals are interchangeable and locations appear to transform with the blink of an eye.
Zeller’s film is dazzling cinema but never loses the emotional power that made the originally stage version so devastating. Olivia Colman once again hits a perfect note playing Anthony’s daughter, while Rufus Sewell, Mark Gatiss, Olivia Williams and Imogen Poots all impress. However, the film belongs wholly to Hopkins who, after an extraordinary career on screen, here gives the finest performance of it. His closing speech is a testament to his extraordinary skill and his total commitment to a role.