I lost my grandmother a few months ago to dementia so I knew if The Father pressed the right buttons it was going to be difficult to watch, and the way the movie chose to handle the disease had me intrigued.
Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman lead the very thin cast as father and daughter, and Hopkins in particular, is exceptional. The role – deservedly – bagged him another Best Actor Academy Award, and I found myself touched by his performance in a way that would likely not have happened in less capable hands.
The Father plays around with narrative structure and chronology in an effort to unsettle you and put you in the shoes of the title character, to the point where you, as the viewer, are unsure of exactly what is real and what is not. It’s an effective, albeit sometimes confusing device, but it succeeds in shining a light on a disease that we really don’t know too much about, despite it taking so many of our loved ones from us.
It’s a very good movie, but one that I probably won’t be going back to anytime soon. It just strikes a little too close to home.
And if you don’t have a lump in your throat at the end, you have no heart.