Jeri Jacquin

Currently available from director Florian Zeller and Sony Picture Classics comes a heart-breaking story of THE FATHER.

Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) lives in London and enjoy music and his very beautiful apartment. Daughter Anne (Olivia Coleman) visits on the daily and is trying to find a care giver to help him. It is rather difficult as Anthony finds reasons to either not have a care giver or finding fault with them.

Taking him to a doctor’s appointment, the questions begin about his memory. He becomes agitated and even confronts Anne about the potential of her moving away. Trying to keep things easy for her dad, it does not help that Paul (Rufus Sewell) makes it clear he is not happy with Anthony living with them.

Anne is doing her best as Anthony continues to believe that changes are happening without his consent. The only things that are consistent in his life lately is music, Anne and the memory of a daughter he has lost.

Waking up one morning, Anthony begins to question everything to Catherine (Olivia Williams). When he puts the pieces together, he begins to fade to the point of no return. Sometimes reality is the cruelest memory of all.

Hopkins as Anthony is nothing short of completely brilliant in this role. Then again, from the moment we meet Anthony it is clear that we are on his journey – not ours. Each frame he is on screen breaks our heart a little more and a little more until it is almost unbearable. Hopkins may have aged as an actor, but it has not slowed him down from giving a performance that is not only memorable but will remain so. It is a look at the other side of a world that is terrifying to accept.

Coleman as Anne is a daughter that clearly wants to be there for her father. She is dutiful and even takes verbal stabs from her father on occasion. Reminding him about her life and where she is at present does not resonate with him. When the conversation comes up about love and Paris, it is immediately rejected by Anthony. Watching Coleman go through the stages of caring for her father and still caring for herself are moments of conflict that are believable to the core.

Sewell as Paul serves his purpose but his attitude regarding Anthony is cold, cruel and dangerous. There is a scene between he and Hopkins that had me practically gut punches with emotion. Trust me when I saw you will know it when it happens and will probably have the same visceral reaction. Sewell has had angry bad guys roles but I think this may be as close to home as I would ever want to see again.

Other cast include Mark Gatiss as The Man, Imogen Poots as Laura, Scott Mullins as Father, Roman Zeller as the boy and Ayesha Dharker as Dr. Sarai.

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THE FATHER is a stunning masterpiece of storytelling and it is help up Olympus style by Hopkins and his heart crushing performance. He gets a hand up from Coleman as a daughter struggling to care for an ailing father and still have a life of her own. What makes this film is that every single moment is steeped in the reality of an aging parent with issues.

What makes this film even more amazing is the telling from Hopkins characters point of view. The constant questioning, the anxiety, fear, confusion and, with Hopkins, the charm of a man who does not realize the life he once knew is no longer right in front of him.

Of course, I am being a tad elusive to the depth of the story and that is intentional. I still to this day believe that there are films to be experienced, truly felt and THE FATHER is such a film. The believability the story and actors bring is steeped in a reality that many parents and adult children face every day. It is a situation that can tear both into shreds as one lets go and the other tries desperately to hold on.

In the end – this is a story of family memories and loss.



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.