"The Father" is adaptation of a highly successful French stage play "Le Père" that had previously won truckloads of international awards and have been staged in Paris, London, on Broadway, in Los Angeles, Australia and in more than 45 countries. Nothing of this would ever come to me if was not for Anthony Hopkins who has won "Oscar" for this role, against highly expected Chadwick Boseman. I have seen Boseman's role in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and he was electric - however, his one scene can't compare with full-length-movie virtuosity of Hopkins who switches between charming and menacing to lost and weeping. It was really tour de force and sensationally good role for any actor and I must say, I have never seen Hopkins acting better. True, in "The Remains of the Day" he might have been more reserved and in zillion other roles he showed different types of personalities, but this one is extremely moving.
The movie was directed by its original writer Florian Zeller who came on brilliant idea to show us dementia from the point of the view of The Father (Hopkins) - because he constantly forgets where he is and often gets disoriented, the space around him changes suddenly - the rooms in apartment switch and now he is in a waiting room of a hospital. Even better, his daughter Olivia Colman goes into the kitchen and comes out as a completely different actress (Olivia Williams who later comes as a nurse in a hospital). People around him are not who he expected them to be, he rages, laughs, argues and constantly fidgets about his hand watch that he suspects people want to steal. The whole story kind of goes in circles, where we slowly understand that he suffers from dementia and his long suffering daughter keeps him in her own apartment (with her marriage falling apart under pressure) while trying to arrange caregiver who might endure father's nasty personality.
Its two-people show: Anthony Hopkins is heartbreaking as elderly eccentric who obviously was previously a strong man and a commanding personality but now is just a frail, old man holding to some ideas about still bossing people around. He even confides to a caregiver that younger daughter Lucy was always his favourite, not Colman (who is listening, in tears). But Lucy is nowhere around and he wonders why she doesn't come to visit him. Its very refreshing to see Olivia Colman out of period costume and she is excellent - she does not have to say much, because her role is one of a long suffering daughter who keeps the burden of the world on her shoulders. She does not have to scream and shout to project quiet tenderness and affection for her father. But we are aware that she is falling apart under the pressure and that eventually she will have to place him in the institution.
I must say that the movie affected me very much - left the cinema disoriented and had to take a long walk to go back to my senses. And its wonderful when movie can affects us so much, this was not just some entertainment but genuinely great art. I recommended it to everyone and will probably see it again.