Colton Underwood once prayed God would “take the gay away” as he struggled to come to terms with his sexuality. Now his relationship with God is closer than ever. “I used to wake up in the morning and pray for Him to take the gay away. I used to pray for Him to change me,” […]
It is an inescapable fact of life that for every relationship between a parent and a child, there is a moment in time where the child becomes a carer, and the parent a dependent.
This is at the core of ‘The Father.’ It is a beautifully wrought family drama that brings together Academy Award winners Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman in a heart-rending account of what happens when a relationship which has colored our every waking moment for decades suddenly and irrevocably changes.
Making his debut as film director is the award-winning French playwright, Florian Zeller, who shares the writing duties with his long-time collaborator and translator Christopher Hampton. Florian steers a dazzling cast headed by Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman as an elderly father and his middle-aged daughter struggling to adapt to changed circumstances.
Florian Zeller, who has moved into cinema from the world of theatre, is accustomed to building a relationship with the audience which he describes in French as “ludique” – best understood as “playful.” Far from film’s common role as a naturalistic medium, audiences will discover that what we see on the screen does not necessarily give us a true version of the world.
In ‘The Father’ we experience the world through the prism of the character Anthony’s confusion, as his dementia sets in motion a gradual decline effecting every part of his reality. But this is not just a film about dementia, and he is more than an unreliable narrator. He is at the center of a struggle which gives ‘The Father’ elements of both thriller and horror – with Anthony’s mind as the unremitting nemesis. In the words of the director, the audience should feel as if they are “groping their way through a labyrinth.”
Despite such apparently dark subject matter, ‘The Father’ is built on a foundation of human empathy, with moments of laughter and even a sense of joy. It celebrates the unbreakable bond between parent and child as they are locked together on a journey into the unknown.
Already nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, the film is set to release on February 26th.