10 June 2021, The Tablet

Forget me not: Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman shine in The Father


Forget me not: Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman shine in The Father
 

The Father
Director: Florian Zeller

The opening minutes of The Father, Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his 2012 award-winning play Le Père, suggest several possible genres: family drama; a thriller in which eightysomething Anthony (Anthony Hopkins, inset) is being gaslit by his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman); horror; or even black comedy. But then something unexpected starts to happen.

Wasn’t there a window in the kitchen? Has the layout of the hallway changed? Time, too, seems to be playing tricks. We the audience are caught off guard and risk losing our bearings amid the tiny disorientations that no one on screen seems to notice. But then so many bigger things are happening all at once that there’s no time to work out what we might or might not have seen in the background. Maybe those anomalies weren’t there after all.

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