The Father
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The Father

The Father there have been some good dramas about people sliding into dementia, like “Away From Her” and “Still Alice,” The Father but I confess I almost always have a problem with them. As the person at the center of the movie begins to recede from her adult children, from the larger world, and from herself, he or she also recedes — at least, this is my experience — from the audience. I have never been sure how to get around that, but in “The Father,” the French playwright and novelist Florian Zeller, making his auspicious debut as a feature-film director (the movie is based on his 2014 play), has found a way.

At the beginning, Anne (Olivia Colman), in London, returns to her large, stately, and tastefully cozy book-lined flat, with its sky-blue walls, and greets her father, Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), who is 80 years old and needs looking after. His memory has been slipping, though he hasn’t lost his feisty combative spirit — qualities we’ve come to expect from Anthony Hopkins, though in this film they’re merely the first couple of onion layers of a brilliant, mercurial, and moving performance. Anthony, in what we’re led to believe is typical behavior for him, has subjected his most recent caregiver to so much cantankerous abuse that she quit. Anne could hire another one, but it’s not that simple. As she finally tells him, she’s moving to Paris to be with the man she loves. What’s right on her lips — but she can’t bring herself to say it — is that it’s probably time for Anthony to go into a nursing home.

Duration: 97 min

Release:

IMDb: 7.3