• Strictly Films

The Father (AFI Fest 2020); Anthony Hopkins is a Lock for an Oscar. Grade: A-

Strictly Films welcomes to you to coverage of this years AFI Film Festival! Our next film on the block: The Father.

The Father tells a story about a beloved father named Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), whom lives in a flat and is loved by his daughter Anne (Olivia Coleman). Anthony has a difficult time in remembering things due to his old age, as he feels he can handle his livelihood himself... Which he most certainly can not. Anthony also has difficulty in getting along with aide helpers, as he refuses to receive help. We soon learn there is aspiration amongst his daughter Anne, that perhaps it’s time to put Anthony in a home, as he is no longer is capable of taking care of himself and a home as well. Witness not only a saddening tale, but also a haunting experience.

The Father from a visual standpoint doesn’t wow you by any means, but rather gets the job done just fine. There are lovely exquisite shots this film has to offer, very fancy in design. Followed by a lovely Score that compliments the films style and also the depressing vibe of this story as well. The cast all in all is pretty great I do say so myself. It’s worth noting that Anthony Hopkins may have wrapped up his Best Actor Oscar for 2020 if the film arrives in December, as his performance as Anthony one whom is suffering dementia was absolutely perfect. You can not spot a single flaw in this performance, as this is honestly amongst Hopkins best work of his entire career, that’ll leave you speechless. Anthony as a character is charming, yet can feel a bit rude, yet can make you feel completely sorry for him as he has really not much control of his mind. It’s definitely a rather frustrating experience dealing with this character, as his unwillingness to cooperate with others can often time makes you feel sorry for those trying to help and more so Anne. But at the end of the day you feel extremely terrible for Anthony, because he really has no control over his mind at all. The scene that really got me is certainly the break down in the finale, as I think it was impossible to hold back tears watching this helpless man cry out to his mother.

Anne played by Olivia Coleman was pretty good as well, as she had solid chemistry with Anthony Hopkins. Anne as a character really is just a sweetheart as a daughter, as she is willing to compromise with her father doing the best she can to make him happy, but in the end she will soon discover the hardship truth that she perhaps has to let her father go. It’s definitely sad but at the end of the day Anne does have a life, as she can’t take care of her father the way he needs to be taken full care of, as her father not being able to cooperate with other care workers really means he must be put in a home.

The Father as a narrative is extremely well written, but what makes The Father stand out significantly is it’s experience. How the film maker was able to pull off an experience, in which you felt you were in the mind of one that has endure dementia was truly out of this world. For a good period of time I felt confused of what I was enduring, but come to realize this is exactly how one feels inside the mind of enduring dementia, as it’s an extremely haunting experience that you would wish to not only be apart or, but for others as well.

The story was extremely well written, as you felt emotionally attached to the characters at hand, more so Anthony as well. It’s definitely a story in which over the course of time though we love Anthony, as he is a charming old man. But in the best interest have to let him go on without being responsible to take on the responsibility, of taking care of his flat, but more so himself. There are some well executed scenes of frustration, emotion, and rather sadness as well dealing with Anthony and others. By the end of the film where we finally discover whom everyone is, as pieces finally come together in Anthony’s mind... It felt unbelievable we finally got to a destination, in which we finally got a hold of a somewhat sane mind frame. But what really brings the emotional gut punch as discussed earlier, was the breakout moment, as which we can’t help but cry along with him.

The only flaws that can be point out is some pacing issues here and there, as sometimes some romantic interest of Anne’s is rather confusing some. But The Father as a narrative and an experience really was something I didn’t expect being ever so wowed by, as I figure this would be just another typical drama.

Overall, The Father was truly a terrific film. I highly recommend checking this one out, do support this if it arrives in the theaters this upcoming December, definitely worth the time and money for. -Mitch Smietana

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