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The Father

The Father in an effort to watch as many Oscar-nominated projects as possible this year, I recently sat down with the The Father French animated short Memorable, a lovely and bitterly sad film about a man fading away into Alzheimer’s. All its gentle lilt aside, it’s pretty harrowing, as most things about cognitive degeneration are—movies like Michael Haneke’s Oscar-nominated Amour, a devastatingly bleak film about dementia, or the Oscar-winning Still Alice, which is a bit sweeter in its portraiture but still kind of awful to watch. And now there’s The Father, which premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday. It’s a mix of the gnarly and the graceful, all anchored by what’s likely to be one of the standout performances of this year.

The actor behind it is Anthony Hopkins—excuse me, Sir Anthony Hopkins—maybe as venerable a British thespian as there is. Now in his 80s, Hopkins is enjoying a career resurgence sparked by his mysteriously menacing turn on HBO’s Westworld and then solidified by his Academy-recognized work in 2019’s The Two Popes. These have been refreshing returns to form for an actor who had, in the last decade or so, retreated a bit into the ease of his idiosyncratic shtick, much like one of his American equivalents, Al Pacino. The Father is the culmination of this new Hopkins era, a towering piece of acting that is as precise and exacting as it is enveloping. It reminds you of why Hopkins enjoys the venerated stature he has for so long.

Duration: 97 min


IMDb: 7.3