The Father (2020)
This very moving and powerful film with its dementia theme, complemented the previous RCC showing of Still Alice. One member of the Zoom discussion group said, “Still Alice breaks your heart and The Father rips it from your chest.”
The performances, particularly Sir Anthony Hopkins’ lead Oscar winning role, were immaculate. Hopkins conveyed many contrasts of his character. The harrowing moments were combined with kindness, hostility, confusion and anger. The wonderful Olivia Colman showed the pain of a carer (while, as one member of the discussion noted, wearing a fine wardrobe of designer clothes). Much felt real to our own experience of loved ones with dementia; the lost watch, accusations of carers stealing, repetition of phrases and incidents.
The director’s clever use of disorientation techniques impressed us all and it felt, as one of us said, “Like a Hitchcock thriller with suspense.” We talked about what in the film was true and what was within Tony’s imagination. We appreciated the skill of the French director Florian Zeller. Einaudi’s delicate minimal music, also heard in Nomadland, fitted the film’s images and theme so well.
We did touch on how both the dementia films showed highly educated and affluent people in a state of loss. We wondered whether this was representative of the wide range of people with this condition. Yet, Anthony’s daughter still faced difficulties with carers despite their wealth.
The speaker from Dementia UK had talked about Admiral nurses who specialised in this field and we were asked to spread the word to three others.
We all agreed. This was a fantastic film, the performances were brilliant and we yearned for the (studio constructed) Maida Vale flat in the film, its doors, bookshelves and all its other desirable contents.