Most of the time I don’t enjoy being disoriented by the films that I watch. The Father was a unique experience, in that my disorientation felt crucial to the viewing experience. If the movie is simplistic in terms of story, that only allows for the focus to be on the presentation of the plot involving an aging man named Anthony (Anthony Hopkins). Even the choice to have the character named the same as the actor playing him simplifies things. We understand that the experience of aging is one that even a famous actor must face, and this film puts in the perspective of a person who is going through this.
We are closely tied to Anthony throughout the film, as he struggles to make sense of the timeline in his life. People enter and exit his apartment, including his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman), but time seems to jump back and forth, and sometimes the people even look different (with alternate actors stepping into roles). The entire experience is very frustrating, but allows the audience a brief period in the shoes of someone who is slowly losing a grasp on what is happening. Florian Zeller’s approach to the filmmaking may not be a lot of fun to watch, but it is some of the most effective filmmaking of the year.
At the center of this filmmaking is the acting. All of it is important to the film, but there is no denying that Hopkins carries a majority of the emotional weight. The rawness of watching the confusion and emotions of a man who is suffering from some type of dementia is compounded by the way the film itself isolates the audience. Not only was this the best performance of the year, I would argue that this may be the performance of his career.
The Blu-ray release of The Father includes a handful of special features, including a generic making-of featurette. There are also a handful of deleted scenes.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 10/10
Historical Significance: 8.5/10
Special Features: 6/10