The Father (2020) Movie Review

The Father – Brilliant & Heart Breaking

Director: Florian Zeller

Writer: Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller (Screenplay) Florian Zeller (Play)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Olivia Williams, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell

Plot: A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.


Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Father starts as Anthony (Hopkins) is having the difficult conversation with his daughter Anne (Colman) about what is going to happen next in his life, caring for him has become difficult, as he goes through spells of memory loss, skipping conversations through the day.

As Anthony starts to get used to being around his new carer Laura (Poots), he still gets visits from a mysterious man (Gatiss), which only drives the concern on him and the people in his life, showing the gradual decline he is going through.

Thoughts on The Father

Characters & Performances – Anthony is the elderly man, he is happy in his flat, only he starts to see his life changing around him, not being able to put everything together in his life, conversations skip and memories are being lost. Where he is losing his memories, he gets put through different mood swings, being a joy one moment, showing bad reactions the next. As we spend more time with Anthony, we start to feel the uncertainty he is going through, reflecting just how difficult the aging process will be. Anthony Hopkins is truly fantastic here, this is easily in the conversation for his best work, as we see all the charm, he brings one minute and the heart break of loneliness by the end. Anne is the daughter of Anthony’s, she has been caring for him for years, always looking for what is best for him. She does know this will be one of the hardest decisions that she must make, but it is all about what is important for him. Olivia Colman is great in her role, she doesn’t take centre stage, but she does show how difficult her decision will become. We do meet the other people that are in Anthony’s life, his son-in-law, a new carer and two mysterious people he doesn’t know, each one will only increase the fears of uncertainty he is facing.

StoryThe story here follows an elderly man as he starts to see his life spiral out of control, struggling to keep his life in the order he is prepared for, showing how not knowing what will happen next can cause him more problems. This is a story that will show just how difficult life can become for an older person who believes everything is going well, but sudden sees the changes in his life, changes he can’t grasp. It will leave you feeling heartbroken because we all are aware that this might happen to our own relatives or even ourselves one day. The choice to have the story jump seamlessly helps fill the confusion Anthony is feeling to be shown to the audience too, the more traditional structure will take a lot out of Anthony’s mindset we go through.

ThemesThe Father uses the flat to show the safety place Anthony has, showing how he believes this is his home and it is one of the only things that he has left, using it to show how things are getting away from him.

The Father is one of the most essential and heart-breaking movies of recent years, with one of the greatest performances in cinema from Anthony Hopkins.

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