Christopher Cross’s review published on Letterboxd:
Toronto International Film Festival 2020
The first act of The Father is about as hallucinatory as a film set in an apartment can get without utilizing psychedelic visuals and actual drug use. Led by a performance from Anthony Hopkins that has to be up there as one of his best in a long-storied career of incredible performances, Florian Zeller’s feature directorial debut is a chilling look at the slide into dementia from multiple perspectives. Haunting in its subtle depictions of someone’s grasp on reality crumbling, The Father is an enriching, often difficult watch, made more powerful by its sparse setting and dizzying editing.
Adapted from Zeller’s 2012 play of the same name, The Father is primarily set in a single location as Anthony (Hopkins) struggles with his day-to-day life and attempts to convince his daughter, Anne (Olivia Colman), that he can care for himself. As people come and go through the apartment and everything he believes certain is pulled out from under him regularly, there’s a gradual recognition that something is wrong – either with those around him or with his own mind. That’s perhaps what helps this particular film stand out from others about old age and dementia – it plays out like a family drama meets psychological horror.