The Father - Drama Movie 2020

Film Review

The Father

The movie opens up with Anne, Anthony’s daughter, heading back home, and arguing with him about his recent carer; it turns out that the nurse has left due to Anthony’s bad treatment and this has upset Anne; she takes him to her own apartment (flat) until she finds someone to take care of him and seems that she is thinking of her last option: taking him to a nursing home. The heartbreaking ending scene which leaves you in tears, closes up with Catherine comforting Anthony who is like a child seeking for his mommy in the old people’s home.

Anthony, the father, is an aged man, with a fading memory who cannot be left on his own but he insists to make sense of his conditions and that he can go on his own; he clings on his watch as he realizes his memory loss. He also has hallucinations of other characters in his life; the loss of his younger daughter Lucy, keeps traumatizing him, since he sees her as the nurse Laura and emphasizes her similarity to his daughter. He is diagnosed of dementia and needs to take medications.

Anne, the daughter, is a divorced lady who has recently found her soulmate, Paul and wishes to leave London as soon as possible, but what makes her hesitant is the current condition of her father; she wants to live far away in Paris, where Anthony keeps repeating sarcastically “They don’t even speak English there.” She feels guilty of abandoning him but she finally ends up leaving him in the nursery home which she pays occasional visits on the weekends.

Dementia, Time, Watch

Anthony, suffers from dementia and his watch stands as his identity, since he’s very concerned with his watch and keeps looking for it; he seems very agitated & nervous when it is not on his wrist; seems that time is very important to him, as he is lost in time, and cannot distinguish now and then; so, he tries to make sure he has a good track of it and can locate the exact moments. In the opening scene he accuses the nurse of stealing it, and when he finds it from his valuable storage in the bath, he is still sure that she could have stolen it if he hadn’t hidden it; He feels so insecure without it; even in the last scene, when he appears the most broken, he indicates that “I know my watch is on my wrist, that I do know…for the journey,..”

Honestly speaking, if you do not have full attention, you may lose the thread of the story and find the movie confusing. Every detail is important as there are minimum of characters with only one location, and of course with changing decoration, very French style, huh? It is full of flashbacks, time shifts, and hallucinations, which make it really hard to understand who’s who or what is happening; however, at the ending scene, things get somehow sorted out by the explanations nurse Catherine gives to Anthony.

Actually, it is as if we float in Anthony’s obsessed mind, full of fragmented thoughts and visions; he’s critical and doubtful of others and strives to survive the world on his own which seems very unknown to him now. Perplexed by life and its happenings, Anthony tries to insist on his watch as his sole assistance in his life journey helping him distinguish visions from reality. The movie sounds very real reflecting the heartbreaking life path and the idea that we cannot avoid certain circumstances because of some terrifying human conditions. It is difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of either Anne or Anthony.

I have watched the last scene many times, and each time I’ve burst into tears, as if I’ve experienced it before or I don’t know, maybe I fear the dreadful future of my parents, or me. “I feel as if I’m losing all my leaves; the branches, the wind and the rain; I don’t know what’s happening anymore; do you know what’s happening? All this business about the flat? I have nowhere to put down my head anymore. But I know my watch is on my wrist, that I do know…for the journey,..if not I ..donno that I be ready to …”

Other Details

The Father is a 2020 drama movie, written and directed by Florian Zeller, which has earned six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Colman), and won Best Actor for Hopkins and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Main Characters

Anthony, The father

Anne, Anthony’s daughter

Other characters

Paul: Anne’s new husband

James: Apparently Anne’s old husband

Laura/Lucy: nurse

Bill: Nursery home nurse, appearing as The man/Paul

Catherine: Anthony’s final Carer

Key Words

Dementia - an illness that affects the brain and memory, and makes you gradually lose the ability to think and behave normally

Loss of memory/memory loss - when you cannot remember things

Hallucination – vision; something which you imagine you can see or hear, but which is not really there, or the experience of this

Diagnose - to find out what illness someone has, or what the cause of a fault is, after doing tests, examinations etc

Nursing home - a place where people who are old and ill can live and be looked after

Abandon - to leave someone, especially someone you are responsible for

The Father - Drama Movie 2020

Robi B