The Father

The Father
Running time:97 minutes
Director:Florian Zeller
Release date:26 may 2021

Mulder's Review

"Originally, I came from the theater. I have a passion for what happens on a stage and for the live work of actors. But it's true that I've been thinking about this first film for a long time. I didn't have the abstract desire to make "a film", but the more concrete desire to make this particular film. Even if it is adapted from one of my plays, my intention was not to film theater. On the contrary, it was to try to do what only cinema can do. This is what really guided my desire and my work with Christopher Hampton, with whom I wrote the script. "Florian Zeller

After having passed through several festivals Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, San Sebastián International Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Florian Zeller's first film, The Father, is available on VOD since March 26th. Florian Zeller has been acclaimed by the international critics and is directing the adaptation of his play and co-writing the script with Christopher Hampton. A truly shocking film about progressive memory loss and the passage of time, The Father is a universal masterpiece.

Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) is 80 years old, lives alone and rejects the caregivers that his daughter, Anne (Olivia Colman), enthusiastically introduces to him. Yet help becomes a necessity for Anne as well; she can no longer make daily visits, and Anthony's grip on reality unravels as it goes. As we witness the ebb and flow of his memory, how much of his own identity and past can Anthony retain? How does Anne cope with the mourning of her father who is gradually losing his sense of reality, while he is still living and breathing in front of her?

The father is not an easy film, as it sends back to us an image of ourselves about the passing of time and our relationship with our parents. Faced with old age we do not have the same cards and the same effects of time. This film embraces real life and the ravages of time, through a loving reflection on the vibrant human condition; heartbreaking and uncompromising, poignant The Father nests in the truth of our own lives and our future. In adapting his play to the big screen, director Florian Zeller has managed to avoid the static staging that is often the case, and he benefits here from the presence of Anthony Hopkins, one of today's greatest actors, in the central role.

After winning an Oscar in 1991 for his memorable role as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, a Golden Globe in 2006 (Cecil B. DeMille Award) and three British Academy Film Awards and having appeared in several American blockbusters in recent years (including Dracula (Bram Stoker's Dracula) (1992), The Mask of Zorro (1998), Mission Impossible 2 (2000), Thor (2013), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Avengers: Endgame (2019)), he finds here simply one of his best roles. The success of this film is largely due to him as he gives his character an important and universal psychological thickness and refers us to our own fear of seeing the most important people to us leave.

For his first film, the director Florian Zeller knew how to support himself with a perfect cast with Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell and Olivia Williams. Of course, his film is not easy to watch as it reflects our own wounds and the permanent fear of losing our loved ones, our memory and a part of our humanity, but it reminds us how essential cinema is to our culture as a vector not only of entertainment but also of culture, quite simply

The great strength of the film is to deliver several scenes that fit together perfectly. There is not really a plot but a succession of sequences, of events explaining Anthony's senile dementia. We feel his apprehensions, his difficulties in understanding what is happening to him as time seems to escape him. It is therefore easy to understand the six nominations obtained at the next Oscar ceremony, including Best Film, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins deserves it) and Best Supporting Actress (Olivia Colman).

The Father
Directed by Florian Zeller
Produced by David Parfitt Jean-Louis Livi, Philippe Carcassonne, Christophe Spadone, Simon Friend
Screenplay by Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton
Based on Le Père by Florian Zeller
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams
Music by Ludovico Einaudi
Cinematography : Ben Smithard
Edited by Yorgos Lamprinos
Production companies : F comme Film, Trademark Films, Cine@, AG Studios, Film4, Orange Studio, Canal+, Ciné+
Distributed by Lionsgate (United Kingdom), Sony Pictures Classics, (United States)
Release date : 27 January 2020 (Sundance), 7 April 2021 (France), 11 June 2021 (United Kingdom)
Running time : 97 minutes

Seen on March 28, 2021

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