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‘The Father’: a poignant portrayal of dementia

The father is a 2020 drama movie directed by Florian Zeller; a novelist and a playwright and it is his directorial debut movie. This is based on his own award winning 2012 play called Le Père. The movie tells us a story about a dementic patient; portrayed by Anthony Hopkins and how the dementia affects the life of his own and people surrounding him. It is one of the eight movies nominated for the best picture category in 2021 Oscars and won best adapted screenplay and best actor in leading role.

Anthony is a dementia-stricken retired octogenarian who lives in his London apartment. He had various caregivers, but they have all left him since he is a tough guy to deal with. His daughter Anne, played by Olivia Colman, comes to take care of him occasionally. This movie reflects how difficult the dementia can be for the patient itself and his careers. Hopkins has done a fantastic job of capturing the changing personality and labile mood caused by dementia. He occasionally has a joyful attitude. There are sporadic, catastrophic outbursts of rage and grief. This wide a variety of emotions changed in a matter of minutes, and it is effectively depicted on the screen. One place in the movie Olivia tells “He didn’t know who I was. It was like I was a stranger to him. It just did something to me” This reflects how patients’ personality changes with time and how difficult it is for the loved ones.  No wonder Hopkins won best actor for this role in many award ceremonies for this excellent depiction of capricious mind of dementia.

The movie placed us in Anthony’s head. We experience what Anthoy think in the movie.  So we can exactly get that fabrication of reality that dementic patient experience. Very few locations and dialogues are featured in the film. In order to put us inside the demented Anthoy’s head, Zeller uses the scenes’ disorientation and the bewilderment they cause in us. Therefore, we experience the same emotions and bewilderment that a dementic would. The cinematic editing in this instance is marvelous.

Zeller uses the surrealism in the concept of dementia. The deviance of the dementics from reality is used in a poignant and artistic way. The mellow and melancholy music by Ludovico Einaudi accentuates the film’s emotional rollercoaster even more. Sometimes we feel sorry for Anthony more than Anne. Sometimes we can relate to Anne more than Anthony. This conflicting emotion toward each character at different times is quite upsetting. In the film, Olivia does a good job of capturing the stress on caregivers caused by dementia. However, the movie demonstrates that love is the only emotion that can endure despite dementia and continue to exist over time. The father movie is one of the few that accurately portrays dementia. Finally, you will fully get how dark and difficult having dementia is. Therefore, The Father should be on your list of must-watch movies. Watch and have a transient dementic experience.

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