9/10 I remember the film for which Julianne Moore won her first and only Academy Award after four previous nominations (fifth time’s the charm). That film was called “Still Alice” and came out the year my grandmother was really struggling with dementia. “Still Alice” was about Alzheimer’s disease, but Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are extremely similar. In most films like “Still Alice”, we get a straight forward telling of someone losing their memories, their ability to speak and their mind overall. There is nothing wrong with that straight forward way of telling a story as “Still Alice” did and remains a good film. However, “The Father” takes this idea that we have seen portrayed in cinema countless times and adds a twist on it, which makes this such a superior film to other films in this same genre. Based off of his own stage play, writer/director Florian Zeller brilliantly shows the audience all of the characters through the eyes of Anthony, played in perhaps a career best performance (in a career full of incredible performances) from Anthony Hopkins. By having people’s names and faces change as well as locations without explanation, we get confused and wonder what is going on. That person just said they were somebody and then the next scene they are someone else. Am I losing my mind? Then we realize that this is all done intentionally to spark the confusion that our protagonist is suffering from. Getting the entire film through his perspective gives us just an inkling of what it must be like to suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and not know who is who, remember what people tell you or even know where you are. You’d think a film involving this subject matter wouldn’t be a showcase from incredible editing but this is surprisingly some of the best editing of the year (2020). Not only is the pacing extremely well done but the transitions between scenes and locations, along with a particular scene beginning and ending in the same way, adding to Anthony’s confusion, is nothing short of genius. The entire cast is phenomenal but I can’t stress enough how incredible Hopkins is in the leading role. In 2016 I remember the Best Actor race coming down to two brilliant performances from Denzel Washington in “Fences” and Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea” and even though Affleck won, both were such incredible performances that I would have been fine with either winning. For 2020 the neck and neck race was between Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Hopkins for this role and although I would have been fine with either winning, Hopkins rightfully deserved to win and I am glad the Academy actually got something correct for once. Both are adapted from stage plays but while “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” felt too much like a stage play, Zeller is able to make “The Father” stand on its own to the point where you wouldn’t even know it came from a stage play. As a first time film director, Zeller shows such a mature handling of the subject matter and he has voiced interest in adapting more of his various stage plays. If he does, I will gladly go see them as soon as possible because he has really proven himself here. Years after I lost my grandmother to dementia, this film still brought me to tears and if you know anyone you love in your life who has suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you will be extremely moved here too. A brilliant twist on a familiar genre paired with genius editing, a beautiful score and the performance of a career, “The Father” is one of the best and most heart breaking films of 2020.

#TheFlawedFather / #StillAnthony / #LendAHelpingAnne / #TheHumanDrain / #TheGoodFather2 / #BritishExit

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