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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The reality of suffering with Alzheimer's is portrayed with sensitivity and empathy, without patronizing or expressing pity. The movie encourages patience and understanding when dealing with someone with an illness such as Alzheimer's.
Positive Role Models
Anthony is shown to be smart, charming, and funny, but his illness often leads to fear, confusion, and anger. His confused emotions are made relatable by framing the scenes from his perspective. His daughter, Anne, is shown to be patient, loving, and supportive, though struggling with the pressure of caregiving.
Violence & Scariness
A character is slapped in the face a number of times, and another is strangled in a daydream sequence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character remarks on another being "gorgeous."
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Occasional language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch," as well as "t-ts" and "retarded."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol on a number of occasions but are never seen drunk. There is mention of prescribed medication and pills.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Father is an excellent -- but at times upsetting -- drama about a man suffering with Alzheimer's. Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman star as father and daughter, Anthony and Anne, with Anthony being diagnosed with the disease. Scenes are shown from his perspective and are purposefully disjointed and confusing to reflect his mental state. There are heartbreaking moments that are difficult to watch, including Anthony being slapped in the face, and him breaking down in a care home. Occasional strong language includes "f--k" and "s--t." Characters do drink alcohol but only in moderation. The movie is a clever and sensitive exploration into a cruel disease, but may be upsetting and confusing for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Oscar-winner Hopkins gives one of the finest performances of his career as a man slowly losing his grip on reality and experiencing the full cycle of emotions that come with that. In some scenes in The Father, he's the vivid, charming, cultured man of a not-so-distant past. But in others, he's angry and defiant, then in a moment scared and childlike in his need to be soothed. Fellow Academy Award-winner Colman beautifully portrays the pain and frustration of managing the situation, in which help is constantly refused and her motives often questioned. She herself fluctuates between pandering, correcting, and losing control of her own anger.
The genius of the film really lies in its structure and casting. In his debut feature as director, Florian Zeller adapts his own stage play for the screen, making clever choices that leave the audience as disorientated as Anthony's character. One of those is having different actors play the same role, so that when Anthony doesn't recognize his daughter, the audience experiences the same dissociation. Even within the flat where Anthony lives, furniture subtly changes, timeframes shift, and apparent strangers appear as if from nowhere -- some of the most heartbreaking moments coming when he refuses to react for fear he can't possibly explain. It's an incredibly difficult watch at times, but Hopkins' performance makes the film such an intimate and compelling experience that it's hard to look away.
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