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The Father. 2020. Great Britain/France. Directed by Florian Zeller. Screenplay by Zeller, Christopher Hampton. With Olivia Colman, Anthony Hopkins. 97 min.
Throughout his career Anthony Hopkins has probed the darker, more troubled recesses of the human mind—in Magic, The Silence of the Lambs, Slipstream, and King Lear, to name a few —but his performance here as Anthony, who is increasingly disoriented, fearful, and enraged by his worsening dementia, is heartbreaking in its nuance. Writer-director Florian Zeller’s disarming conceit—far more cinematic than the Molière- and Tony-winning play’s theatrical origins would suggest—is to plunge us into Anthony’s own sense of disorientation, as the past intrudes unbidden upon the present and he becomes estranged from the known, the habitual, and the comforting even in his own home: the misplaced reading glasses, the day of the week, the face of a daughter (an anguished yet wary Olivia Coleman). Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
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