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10/7/2020 • 3 min read
In February, we'll get to see Anthony Hopkins starring as part of a powerhouse cast in a drama that might bring even the strongest viewer to their knees. THE FATHER follows a man, played in a widely-acclaimed performance by Anthony Hopkins, whose life is slowly being dominated by dementia. As he cycles through caretakers and wrestles with family, the man slides further away from reality.
Co-written and directed by Florian Zeller, based on his own 2012 play "Le Père," THE FATHER visualizes the man's encroaching dementia in ways that put us inside his experience, and you may never forget the story that ensues.
THE FATHER premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, which now feels like a very long time ago. It will be released in theatres on February 26, 2021, by Sony Pictures Classics.
This terrific trailer for THE FATHER introduces Anthony, the character played by Hopkins, and helps us see what should be a pretty normal existence. He's a charming, lively guy — but with his perception failing, Anthony fails to recognize even the people he is closest to, like his daughter Anne, played by both Oliva Colman and, apparently, Olivia Williams.
Above everything is the performance from Hopkins, who, when he's at his best, is nearly unmatched as an actor. THE FATHER appears to be one of his most impressive performances ever, which is saying a lot for a man who has been acting for over 50 years!
Anthony Hopkins is undeniably the star of THE FATHER, but the rest of the ensemble cast is equally as important. The actor's primary sparring partner is the glorious Olivia Colman, who plays his daughter, Anna. Colman has been a sparkling presence on screens big and small for twenty years, but it's only in the last few — thanks to series like "The Crown" and "Fleabag" and movies such as THE FAVOURITE — that she has been truly appreciated. Colman won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2019 for her performance as Queen Anne in THE FAVOURITE (seen above), which helped highlight that she is just as delightful when out of character as she is while acting.
The cast also features Mark Gatiss, Rufus Sewell, Imogen Poots and Olivia Williams. It's a somewhat surprising collection of talent that speaks to Hopkins's power to bring people together. Knowing the story of THE FATHER, and knowing that Hopkins would play the title role, we would imagine that anyone the producers approached for additional roles would have said yes immediately.
With this movie, writer/director Florian Zeller doesn't merely recreate his play on the big screen. THE FATHER uses deceptively simple techniques to bring us into Anthony's experience and becomes inherently cinematic by doing so. Different sets and locations are shot to look as if they are all similar to Anthony's apartment, so we begin to experience his sense of dislocation and displacement. The Guardian describes him as "essentially a character in a trippy thriller who exists in a real-world drama," because Anthony is never certain what is real.
Because he believes in reality — the one he thinks he remembers — it's easy for us to believe in Anthony's perspective. And Zeller relies on the work of the rest of the cast, from stalwarts Colman and Williams to the friendly, vulnerable work of Imogen Poots, to emphasize how far from "normal" experience Anthony is getting. It's an unusual and effective way to make audiences feel an experience that most of us will hopefully never have to live.
All images courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics and Searchlight Pictures.
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