Lenny’s review published on Letterboxd:
Growing old is great, but being old is a pain in the ass. This sentence can be transferred exactly to The Father. Watching Anthony Hopkins, a man with so much life experience and great memories, gradually losing control over his perception and memory is simply heartbreaking.
Florian Zeller has now packaged his play into a film, and in doing so, he makes perfect use of the medium's properties to emotionally grab the viewers, but also to confuse them. Namely, we accompany Anthony who is appropriately played by Anthony Hopkins. He lives alone in a fancy apartment, but he can't really take care of himself anymore. That's why his daughter Anne helps him around the clock. Anthony suffers from dementia and forgets quite a lot and gets things mixed up. Important things. And so life with him is extremely difficult.
In order to make Anthony's condition tangible, the structure of the plot itself is not always clear to follow. And especially the editing contributes its part here. Scenes are often repeated and juxtaposed with only minutely changed details. So we as viewers constantly ask ourselves: What is actually going on? Is Anthony just imagining it, is it perhaps just a dream or even the bitter truth?
I would tip my hat to Anthony Hopkins if I had one. I would even buy one especially for him, just to tip it to him. What he is doing here is unique and terrific in every way. Anyone who has ever had to deal with people suffering from dementia, or who are simply elderly, recognizes those people in Hopkins' performance and mannerisms. His acting and character is so universal and that's probably why the ending breaks everyone's heart (after it's been broken countless times before in the film).
I don't want to pass over Olivia Colman as the daughter Anne because she also shows very realistically and vividly how such a situation can affect you as a family member and tear you apart inside. All of this comes from the combination of Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins which is a back-and-forth between hope and realizing the painful reality.
Being old sucks. That's true. Well, at least partially. Unfortunately, you can't change certain things. And as long as there is no cure for dementia, this disease remains a terrifying thing. However, that's how The Father showed me that you should really use the time you can still enjoy with a clear mind with your beloved ones. These are the memories that stay somewhere deep in your heart. And for my part, I'm going to call my grandfather now.