Olivia Colman and Sir Anthony Hopkins in an intense frame from 'The Father' Photograph:( Instagram )
Soon after the Oscars' Winners List was released this year, a debate had conjured up as to why the late Chadwick Boseman wasn't given the honour. And for those of you who need at least one reason to squash that argument, we will give you three--Sir Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman and a fair-and-square representation of that monster of a disease called Dementia.
Be it for the soul-shaking content or just the sheer brilliance of its actor(s), some movies have pierced through our hearts and have stayed etched in our memories. For instance, Morgan Freeman's husky, trance-like voiceover in 'The Shawshank Redemption' (1994), Leonardo DiCaprio's heartbreaking rendition of a sick teenager in 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' (1993) and now--without an iota of doubt--Sir Anthony Hopkins for his Oscar-winning performance in French novelist and playwright Florian Zeller's 'The Father'.
Now near-crippled by his rapidly declining Dementia, old yet charming Anthony (Sir Anthony Hopkins) was once an affable family man--father to two lovely middle-aged daughters, Anne (Olivia Colman) and Anne (Olivia Williams)--or is he?
Without getting into the various mind-twisting timelines that Zeller bounces between in this weirdly uncomfortable, heartbreakingly beautiful tale of a familia broken by virtue of aging and health, let's just say that 'The Father' is a deep-dive into the troubled (read helpless) minds of those who cannot seem to remember, primarily because they are no longer designed to.
By outward appearances, 'The Father' seems like a tad more comprehensive version of Julianne Moore's 'Still Alice'--for which she has won an Oscar, too--but twenty minutes into it, and you know the film was made to take you on a tour to what a Dementia-dwelled mind cannot comprehend, yet it must endure.
The part-pliant, part-snobbish Sir Anthony Hopkins stirs up emotions within you that you haven't experienced in ages--if his ruthlessness towards Olivia Colman's Anne demands sympathy over her constant pining for a father long lost, his unabashed siding with his other daughter is a reminder of what a doting father ought to be. Hopkins takes one sequence (with one version of events) and turns it into a case study of the disease's irreparable grip over its victims. In most others, he puts on display just how good of an actor he really is. Marvelous!
Olivia Colman can never go wrong with twisted family dynamics--'Fleebag', for instance-- and with 'The Father' she ups her ante and how! One scene in particular resonates for its layered presentation, where a defiant Anthony tells her that his non-existent other daughter is his favourite child. The tears trickle through the British actress' eyes like water from a stream--deep, docile and oh-so-very hurt.
Soon after the Oscars' Winners List was released this year, a debate had conjured up as to why the late Chadwick Boseman wasn't given the honour. And for those of you who still need at least one reason to squash that argument, we will give you three--Sir Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman and a fair-and-square representation of that monster of a disease called Dementia.
'The Father' is now streaming on Lionsgate Play.