The Father (2020)

Movie


The Father (2020)

Having just scared off his recent caregiver, Anthony, an ailing, octogenarian Londoner gradually succumbing to dementia, feels abandoned when concerned Anne, his daughter, tells him she's moving to Paris. Confused and upset, against the backdrop of a warped perspective and his rapid, heart-rending mental decline, Anthony is starting to lose his grip on reality, struggling to navigate the opaque landscape of present and past. Now, as faded memories and glimpses of lucidity trigger sudden mood swings, dear ones, Anthony's surroundings, and even time itself become distorted. Why has his younger daughter stopped visiting? Who are the strangers that burst in on Anthony?
UK
France
IMDb   8.3 /10
Metacritic   88 %
TheMovieDb    8.2 /10
RottenTomatoes
FilmAffinity   7.7 /10
Information
Release Date2021-02-25
Runtime1h 37min
GenreDrama
Content RatingPG-13 (PG-13)
AwardsTop rated movie #107 | Won 2 Oscars26 wins & 133 nominations total
CompanyLes Films du Cru, Film4, Orange Studio
CountryUK, France
LanguageEnglish
Anthonyas Anthony
The Manas The Man
The Womanas The Woman
Lauraas Laura
Paulas Paul
Dr Saraias Dr Sarai
Roman Zeller
Roman Zeller
Boyas Boy
Adnan Kundi
Adnan Kundi
Passerbyas Passerby
Scott Mullins
Scott Mullins
Fatheras Father
Brian Rodger
Brian Rodger
Hospital Visitoras Hospital Visitor
Romulus Stoicescu
Romulus Stoicescu
Teenas Teen
Lucyas Lucy

The Father (2020 film)

The Father is a 2020 psychological drama film co-written and directed by Florian Zeller, in his directorial debut; he co-wrote it with fellow playwright Christopher Hampton based on Zeller's 2012 play Le Père. A French-British co-production, the film stars Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, and Olivia Williams, and follows an aging man who must deal with his progressing dementia. It is the second adaptation of the play after the 2015 film Floride.

The Father had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 27 January 2020, and was released in the United States on 26 February 2021, in France on 26 May 2021 by UGC Distribution and in the United Kingdom on 11 June 2021 by Lionsgate UK. It grossed $24 million on a $6 million budget and was acclaimed by critics, who lauded the performances of Hopkins and Colman, as well as the production values and its portrayal of dementia.

At the 93rd Academy Awards, Hopkins won Best Actor and Zeller and Hampton won Best Adapted Screenplay; the film received six nominations in total, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Colman). At the 78th Golden Globe Awards, the film received four nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, and it received six nominations at the 74th British Academy Film Awards, winning Best Actor (Hopkins) and Best Adapted Screenplay. In addition, Hopkins and Colman were nominated for Outstanding Leading Actor and Outstanding Supporting Actress respectively at the 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards.


Plot

Anne visits her father Anthony in his flat after he becomes belligerent with his recent caregiver. He has dementia and constantly forgets important life events and where things are around his flat, including his watch. He tells Anne he believes his caregiver stole his watch and that he will never move out of his flat. She tells Anthony she is moving to Paris to be with a man, which confuses Anthony since he doesn't recall any men in her life since the end of her marriage to James. Anne says that if he keeps refusing to have a caregiver, she will have to move him into a nursing home.

The next day, Anthony sees an unknown man, Paul, and is confused by why he with him and Anne. Anne returns for dinner and appears as a different woman, confusing Anthony again. Anne schedules an interview with a new caregiver, Laura. Anthony tells Laura he was a professional dancer and also that he doesn't need any assistance. Anthony later says Laura reminds him of his other daughter Lucy, whom he hasn't talked to for months for reasons he is unaware of.

Anthony is taken to a doctor and asked about his memory. He claims he has no memory problems. Later, he tells Laura how proud he is of Lucy, a painter. She tells him she is sorry about Lucy's accident, which Anthony is unaware of. Over the course of the film, it is revealed thabut believes he still lives in his own flat. After Anne comes home, she and Paul have an argument over a cancelled holiday to Italy due to Anthony's earlier behaviour towards the caregiver, and about Anne's sacrifices for her father. Paul asks Anthony how long he plans to stay in their flat and annoy everyone, after which Paul slaps him.

Anthony wakes up and walks out of the flat, finding himself in a hospital hallway. He remembers Lucy lying in a hospital bed with blood on her face. He then wakes up in a completely different bedroom, which is in a nursing home. His nurse arrives, who earlier appeared as both Anne and Laura, but identul and visits on occasional weekends. Another nurse named Bill also visits, who appears to be one of the men Anthony knows as Paul. Anthony has an emotional breakdown over his inability to understand what is happening to him, as well as Anne's disappearance. He says he wants his mother and that he is "losing his leaves, the branches, the wind and the rain". Catherine comforts him and tells him she'll take him out to the park later.


Cast

  • Anthony Hopkins as Anthony
  • Olivia Colman as Anne
  • Rufus Sewell as Paul
  • Imogen Poots as Laura/Lucy
  • Olivia Williams as Catherine/Laura/Anne (credited as The Woman)
  • Mark Gatiss as Bill/Paul (credited as The Man)
  • Ayesha Dharker as Dr. Sarai
  • Roman Zeller as Boy

Production

It was announced in May 2019 that Florian Zeller was to direct a screenplay with Christopher Hampton based on his play. Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman were cast in the film. Olivia Williams, Rufus Sewell, Imogen Poots and Mark Gatiss joined later that month, with filming beginning on 13 May. Filming locations included West London Film Studios, and Hayes, Hillingdon.


Release

The Father had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 27 January 2020. Prior to this, Sony Pictures Classics and Lionsgate acquired U.S. and U.K. distribution rights to the film, respectively. It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on 14 September 2020 and at the AFI Fest in October 2020.

The film was released in India on 23 April 2021 and in the United Kingdom on 11 June 2021, delayed from earlier release dates of 8 January and 12 March in response to lockdowns as result of a second-wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the United States, the film began a limited release in New York City and Los Angeles on 26 February, before expanding on 12 March and then being available on premium video on demand starting 26 March, after originally being scheduled to be released on 18 December 2020.


Reception

Box office

The Father grossed $2.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $22.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $24.3 million.

In the film's opening weekend in the United States, the film made $433,611 from 865 theatres, finishing eighth at the box office. The weekend following its six Oscar nominations, the film made $355,000 from 937 theatres. Following its two Oscar wins, the film made $147,000 from 713 theatres, for a running total of $1.9 million.

In Spain the film made $171,901 in its opening weekend from 156 theatres, then $160,378 in its second and $54,901 in its third.

Critical response

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 98% of 274 critics' reviews were positive, with an average rating of 8.70/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Led by stellar performances and artfully helmed by writer-director Florian Zeller, The Father presents a devastatingly empathetic portrayal of dementia." Metacritic assigned it a weighted average score of 88 out of 100 based on 51 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". According to PostTrak, 84% of audience members gave the film a positive score, with 54% saying they would definitely recommend it.

Writing for Variety, Owen Gleiberman said "The Father does something that few movies about mental deterioration in old age have brought off in quite this way, or this fully. It places us in the mind of someone losing his mind—and it does so by revealing that mind to be a place of seemingly rational and coherent experience." For The Guardian, Benjamin Lee wrote of Hopkins's performance: "It's astounding, heartbreaking work, watching him try to rationally explain to himself and those around him what he's experiencing. In some of the film's most quietly upsetting moments, his world has shifted yet again but he remains silent, knowing that any attempt to question what he's woken up to will only fall on deaf ears. Hopkins runs the full gamut from fury to outrage to upset and never once does it feel like a constructed character bit, despite our association with him as an actor with a storied career."

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "The best film about the wages of aging since Amour eight years ago, The Father takes a bracingly insightful, subtle and nuanced look at encroaching dementia and the toll it takes on those in close proximity to the afflicted. Fronted by a stupendous performance from Anthony Hopkins as a proud in denial of his condition, this penetrating work marks an outstanding directorial debut by the play's French author Florian Zeller."

Writing for Indiewire, David Ehrlich said: "Zeller adapts his award-winning play of the same name with steely vision and remarkable confidence, as the writer-director makes use of the camera like he's been standing behind one for his entire life. ... In Zeller's hands, what appears to be a conventional-seeming portrait of an unmoored old man as he rages against his daughter and caretaker slowly reveals itself to be the brilliant study of a mind at sea, and of the indescribable pain of watching someone drown."

Writing for The New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis said The Father is "stupendously effective and profoundly upsetting" and described it as a "majestic depiction of things falling away". The Guardian's Anne Billson ranked Hopkins's performance in the film as the best of his career.

Anupama Chopra of Film Companion wrote, "Anthony Hopkins, who plays Anthony, became the oldest Best Actor Oscar winner for this performance and he is absolutely magnificent—gliding from charming to cruel in a heartbeat."

Selections

  • Sundance Film Festival: official selection
  • Toronto International Film Festival: official selection
  • Telluride Film Festival: official selection
  • San Sebastián International Film Festival: Pearls section
  • Zurich Film Festival: official selection
  • Hamptons International Film Festival: official selection
  • Dinard British Film Festival

Accolades

AwardCategoryRecipientResultRef.
AACTA International Awards
(10th)
Best International ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best International Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanWon
Best International ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonNominated
Best International FilmFlorian ZellerNominated
AARP's Movies for Grownups AwardsBest ActorAnthony HopkinsWon
Academy AwardsBest PictureDavid Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe CarcassonneNominated
Best ActorAnthony HopkinsWon
Best Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonWon
Best Film EditingYorgos LamprinosNominated
Best Production DesignPeter Francis and Cathy FeatherstoneNominated
Austin Film Critics Association AwardsBest ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Best ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonNominated
Best EditingYorgos LamprinosNominated
British Academy Film AwardsBest FilmPhilippe Carcassonne, Jean-Louis Livi and David ParfittNominated
Best British FilmFlorian Zeller, Philippe Carcassone, Jean-Louis Livi,
David Parfitt and Christopher Hampton
Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading RoleAnthony HopkinsWon
Best Adapted ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonWon
Best EditingYorgos LamprinosNominated
Best Production DesignPeter FrancisNominated
British Independent Film AwardsBest Independent British FilmNominated
Best DirectorFlorian ZellerNominated
Best ActorAnthony HopkinsWon
Best ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonWon
Best EditingYorgos LamprinosWon
Best Production DesignPeter FrancisNominated
Boston Society of Film Critics AwardsBest New FilmmakerFlorian ZellerWon
Best ActorAnthony HopkinsWon
Cinéfest Sudbury International Film FestivalAudience Choice AwardWon
Chicago Film Critics Association AwardsBest ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonNominated
Critics' Choice Movie AwardsBest ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonNominated
Best EditingYorgos LamprinosNominated
Directors Guild of America AwardsOutstanding Directorial – First-Time Feature FilmFlorian ZellerNominated
Florida Film Critics Circle AwardsBest DirectorNominated
Best First FilmNominated
Best ActorAnthony HopkinsWon
Best Adapted ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonNominated
Georgia Film Critics Association AwardsBest FilmNominated
Best ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Best ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonNominated
Golden Globe AwardsBest Motion Picture – DramaNominated
Best Actor – Motion Picture DramaAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion PictureOlivia ColmanNominated
Best ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonNominated
Goya Awards (Spain)Best European FilmFlorian ZellerWon
Hollywood Critics Association AwardsBest FilmNominated
Best ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Best ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonNominated
Best EditingYorgos LamprinosNominated
Houston Film Critics Society AwardsBest PictureNominated
Best ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association AwardsBest EditingYorgos LamprinosWon
London Critics Circle Film AwardsBest British FilmNominated
Best ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best British ActorNominated
Premios CEC (Spain)Best Foreign FilmFlorian ZellerNominated
San Diego Film Critics Society AwardsBest DirectorNominated
Best ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonWon
San Francisco Film Critics Circle AwardsBest ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Best EditingYorgos LamprinosNominated
San Sebastián International Film FestivalAudience AwardWon
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Actor in a Leading RoleAnthony HopkinsNominated
Outstanding Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Satellite AwardsBest FilmNominated
Best DirectorFlorian ZellerNominated
Best ActorAnthony HopkinsNominated
Best Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayFlorian Zeller and Christopher HamptonWon
Best EditingYorgos LamprinosNominated
Telluride Film FestivalSilver Medallion AwardAnthony HopkinsWon
Toronto International Film FestivalTribute AwardWon
Audience AwardNominated
Zurich Film FestivalGolden Eyes AwardOlivia ColmanWon