The Father features a pretty inventive perspective similar to Bruno Collet’s Oscar-nominated short Memorable, where you’re sort of lost in the delusions of the main character’s, but you’re also mildly aware of its effect on peers through the implications of the narrative. The unfiltered emotional truth that’s often spouted from the dementia victim (Anthony) and the spontaneous nature of its chaotic tone on others is stipulated through the film as a burden; the charm in Anthony’s persona is so unevenly mated with the cruelty that you see the unlikable character that Alzheimer’s can reflect, but then are taken aback due to your new awareness of the unintentional hostility that’s inevitable in its complicated language. The vexation that it has on others and the misplaced aggression it summons counteractively evokes misplaced guilt in that of the sick, and it’s heartbreaking to witness. Florian Zeller transitions the plot as if we were our subject Anthony walking through a warped timeline, crawling back into either the feebleness of youth or the intellect of wisdom, cursed by inconsistency.
Zeller has taken the clichés of the elderly parent with dementia and the exhausted offspring dynamic, and reworked them into a more understanding, secondary outlook we don’t see too often through the eyes of the ill, making its familiar story beats seem less sappy than what they could’ve felt. As compensation, we are instead thrown directly into the eternal confusion of the victim, experiencing all his emotional agony but simultaneously interpreting the pain of others who witness his actions through our own conceptions rather than his. As far as I’m concerned, Anthony Hopkins deserves the win too; his performance alone almost brought me to tears.
To end this on a happier note though, I must say… ♫ MS. CROSS HAS (still) GOT IT GOIN’ ON ♫. Umm, sorry you had to read that folks. I hope you don’t get the reference(s). I’m a degenerate, I know.
“The Father” is now playing in select theaters.