The Father entered the 2021 Awards Season as an outsider that was given a Best Picture nomination purely for the A-List talent attached but with no real chance of winning anything. The film has since gained well-deserved momentum in the industry, which is fitting considering it is one of the best films to come out in the past year.
The Father tells the story of Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) as he defends further into the darkness of his dementia. The story is told from Anthony’s perspective, and the audience takes the horrifying and emotional journey with him. Olivia Coleman co-stars as his daughter Anne which gives the film an anchored perspective on the affects of dementia on the entire families that it affects.
The story was originally written as a play by Florian Zellar, who co-writes and directs the film. The Father definitely feels like a play, much like fellow awards contender Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. However, unlike Ma Rainey, the film justifies its jump to the screen by using the different medium to its full potential. The decent into dementia is filmed with such precision that is hard for the audience to hold everything together, just like Anthony.
Originally, I thought that there would be no performance that would justify snubbing Chadwick Boseman for Best Actor this year. After watching The Father, its hard to ignore Anthony Hopkins’ transcendent performance. Even though he already has an Oscar, Hopkins would have been a shoe-in any other year for his flawless portrayal of a father trying to hold on as best as he can. Because of the circumstance, I still believe that Boseman deserves the honor, but Hopkins’ performance is truthfully superior.
Coleman does an incredible job too. Her performance does a lot to bridge the audience to reality and feel the experience those affected on the other side of dementia. The role is not quite enough to justify a win at the Oscars, but her performance was essential to the greatness of this film.
Only Nomadland rivals The Father this year with fresh and inventive filmmaking that deserves iconic status this awards season. If there is only one or two films that you decide to check out from this years slew of contenders, make The Father a priority.
Filmnetic Grade: A+