top of page

Film REVIEW: The Father - ★★★★★

Updated: Mar 15

Director: Florian Zeller

Writers: Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller - based on Le Pere by Florian Zeller

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

Genre: Drama, Mystery

Themes: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Memory Loss, Based on a Play

Rated Age 12A

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.

The Father is co-written and directed by Florian Zeller, in his directorial debut; he co-wrote it with fellow playwright Christopher Hampton based on Zeller's 2012 play Le Père. It is the second adaptation of the play after the 2015 film Floride.

The Father was acclaimed by critics, who lauded the performances of Hopkins and Colman, as well as the production values and its portrayal of dementia.



Cameron (Age 18) - ★★★★★

"The Father is a uniquely wonderful film in its ability to have the story come

from the perspective of a man with dementia. The cast in the film is absolutely

outstanding with both Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman playing such

believable characters. The characterisation of an ill person is always difficult,

but Anthony nails it by embodying all the unique and seemingly random things

people with dementia do. The gem that makes this film truly different is the

way its filmed. By having seemingly unconnected events with different

characters suddenly joining together confuses the audience. It means the

audience has more sympathy for Anthony’s character as the viewers are just as

confused as he is – you must see it to fully understand it.

This film is unique but very convincing in building a story around a man with

dementia by, quite literally, placing the audience in his shoes. A must watch!

(and bring tissues)."

Stewart - ★★★★★

'This is a very difficult film to watch but one that examines old age and dementia in a very subtle, graceful and ultimately heartbreaking way. Anthony Hopkins gives an outstanding performance in his Oscar winning role, very multi-layered and complex and fully conveys the fear and confusion of his character. Supporting cast is also excellent topped by Olivia Colman as the daughter struggling to cope with her father's deterioration.

The film may be too close to home for some people who have been affected by the illness and a film not suitable for young viewers. However there's no denying the artistry on show here. A devastating film that will stay with you for a very long time.'

Have you seen it yet?



What is The Father? Film origins and its award-winning creators

When Florian Zeller was 15, his grandmother, who'd practically raised him - "she was like my mother" - began to suffer from the savage memory slips and confusion of dementia. In time, Zeller's experiences with his grandmother and the cruel disease's long goodbye would coalesce into the French playwright's multi-award winning play, Le Pere (2012) - the story of an ageing man and his daughter, navigating the bewildering and shifting terrain of forgetfulness.

Co-written with English playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton (who translated the original play into English), The Father is a near-flawless big-screen adaptation. Built around remarkably authentic performances from Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Thor) as Anthony and Olivia Colman (The Favourite, The Crown) as Anne, Zeller employs masterful filmmaking that brilliantly, disorientingly places us in Anthony's world - a place where people and rooms seemingly change at random, and what is familiar and reassuring is under constant threat.

The Father isn't always an easy watch but it's an extraordinarily accomplished and satisfying film. And it's absolutely no surprise that it won Oscars and BAFTAs for Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton).


The Father plot. What is The Father about?

Anthony is a former engineer, a proud and self-reliant man in his 80s who loves his flat. Only, recently, things have started to unravel.

Objects go missing, his daughter Anne and her boyfriend Paul are meddling and insisting that he have a caretaker to look after him, and worst of all, the flat itself appears to change its appearance and strange people come and go.

Experienced through Anthony's eyes and mind , The Father reveals the cruel and bewildering tricks dementia plays on his mind and on those who love him, care for him and slip through his weakening grip on reality.


The Father cast. Who's in The Father?

ANTHONY HOPKINS (The Silence of the Lambs, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok) is Anthony.

There’s not an ounce of the movie star in Anthony Hopkins’ heart-wrenching performance in The Father. By turns proud, belligerent, joyful and fearfully child-like, Anthony is a man buffeted by a world that makes less sense to him by the day.

OLIVIA COLMAN (The Favourite, The Crown, The Mitchells vs The Machines) is Anne.

Divorced Anne loves her father and desperately wants him to feel settled and safe. But at the same time, she’s found love again and wants to move with her new boyfriend to Paris. Hinting at painful long years spent navigating Anthony’s cognitive decline, Colman’s performance is remarkable – a child grieving the father she loves even as he stands before her.

RUFUS SEWELL (A Knight's Tale, The Holiday, Gods of Egypt) is Paul.

Paul is Anne’s boyfriend. The pair’s plans, from holidays to the big move to Paris, are forever at the whim of Anthony’s deteriorating state and this is a source of tension between Paul and Anne at times.

IMOGEN POOTS (28 Weeks Later, Jane Eyre) is Laura / Lucy.

Laura is Anthony’s new caretaker – a young woman hired by Anne to care for him so he can stay living at home. But then, Laura also reminds Anthony of his younger daughter, Lucy. Something happened to Lucy but Anthony can’t remember. He hasn’t seen her for months…

OLIVIA WILLIAMS (An Education, Justin and the Knights of Valour) is The Woman.

Who is The Woman? Sometimes she seems to be Anne, but not always. She’s kind to Anthony and wants what’s best for him but if she’s not Anne then what’s she doing in Anthony’s flat?

MARK GATISS (Sherlock, Victor Frankenstein) is The Man.

The Man is so familiar. He’s in Anthony’s flat sometimes too. He must be Anne’s new boyfriend, Paul, right? But if that’s the case, why does he look different on different days. It’s all so confusing and frustrating.


Like this? Try these!....

  1. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022) - #3 - ★★★★★

  2. Knives Out (2019) - #5 - ★★★★★

  3. The Prestige (2006) - #11 - ★★★★★

  4. Hugo (2011) - #184 - ★★★★

  5. Source Code (2011) - #185 - ★★★★

  6. Unbreakable (2000) - #186 - ★★★★

  7. Signs (2002) - #394 - ★★★

  8. Proof (2005) - n/a

  9. Mr. Holmes (2015) - n/a

  10. Secret Window (2004) - n/a

Olivia Colman gets to have a bit more fun in the recent Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.

An elderly patriarch is at the head of Knives Out, a glorious dark comedy murder mystery. Tone is different but family relationships and an interesting home is at its heart.

For more strange mysteries that play with the mind check out The Prestige and Secret Window.

A cranky old timer is played by Ben Kingsley in the excellent Hugo who runs from his past.

The Father has a similar aesthetic to the films by M. Night Shyamalan - have a look at Unbreakable and Signs.

Anthony Hopkins stars alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in Proof which has a bit of a similar themes of dementia, whilst the Gyllenhall futuristic thriller Source Code has an interesting spin on memory.

Meanwhile another British acting stalwart, Ian McKellen, is excellent as the aging detective in Mr. Holmes.

Have you seen these films / TV shows?



Make sure you have booked in for the latest DRAMA CLASSES at Mix Up Theatre...

89 views0 comments
bottom of page