The Father by Florian Zeller [7/10]

French playwright Florian Zeller has scooped the pool by snaring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman for his self-directed, co-written debut film, “The Father.” Be assured that both these outstanding actors are in scintillating form. A movie about dementia, told from the loopy, time-shifting, place-shifting perspective of Anthony, the eighty-year-old former engineer steadily seeping reality, The Father holds one gripped in an uncomfortable hold. Anthony (played by namesake Hopkins) is living in his daughter Anne’s (Coleman) apartment but the furnishings, the people, the faces all switch disconcertingly. This is best described as “harrowing fare,” an education for those who haven’t gone through this phase with a loved one, and at the end I expected to be shattered. Yet there is something overtly stage managed about the scripting and direction, and I found myself impressed but strangely unmoved at the end. Recommended nonetheless.

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