"Frightening Personal Drama"

Content: -1 Discretion advised for older children.

What You Need To Know:

THE FATHER stars Anthony Hopkins as a man falling into the extreme stages of dementia. His daughter, Anne, takes care of her father, Anthony, first in his apartment, then in the apartment where Anthony lives with her and her husband, Paul. Years and events are conflated. Also, Anthony forgets who people are and thinks people are lying to him. Slowly, Anthony’s dementia increases. His memories intrude on reality. Finally, in a gigantic care facility, the nurse and orderly turn out to be Anne and Paul. “What will become of me?” he asks.

Anthony Hopkins does a great job in THE FATHER. The audience believes he has dementia. He even gets them to believe they might have dementia. The other acting is also hyper real and upsetting. Many movies have been made about aging and the delusions that might occur. THE FATHER may be the most powerful, disconcerting and frightening. However, it needs more orchestration to give the movie some pacing and relieve the horror of the father’s dementia. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children. Watch THE FATHER at your own risk.


(BB, L, V, S, A, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Moral worldview about a daughter trying to take care of her father while he’s suffering tremendous mental dementia which causes him to replay scenes in his mind and to confuse the different people in his life with no overt Christian content and only a vague suggestion of an afterlife

Foul Language:
Six obscenities,

Daughter hallucinates on strangling her father in bed, suggestion that husband slaps the father while accusing him of taking advantage of the husband’s wife, who is the daughter, man is verbally threatening and abusive, man’s other daughter has died in an accident, and he remembers seeing her in the hospital completely bruised

Older man with dementia seems to make a pass at a young caregiver

No nudity

Alcohol Use:
Wine at dinner and one glass of whiskey

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or illegal drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Mental confusion causes elderly father to think he’s being robbed and deceived, but it’s doubtful if either of those happened.

More Detail:

THE FATHER is a very frightening story of a man progressing into the extreme stages of dementia while being taken care of by his daughter. The movie is purposefully convoluted and very well acted, with subtle dialogue that lingers in the viewer’s imagination.

THE FATHER opens with Anthony Hopkins in the London flat he has owned and lived in for many, many years. His daughter, Anne, is taking care of him. She’s upset that he’s driven off another caregiver, named Angela, and tells her father she has fallen in love with a man in Paris and is moving to Paris. Coming out of his kitchen, the father sees a man he doesn’t recognize. The man tells him that he is Paul, Anne’s husband, and she’s not moving to Paris. At this point, another person claiming to be Anne enters the apartment, but it’s clear this isn’t the same apartment, although it’s very similar.

Next, we’re back to the real Anne and the real Paul, who tell Anthony she’s not going to Paris. However, the real Paul is tired of having Anthony live in their apartment. He wants to put Anthony in a care facility.

Anne brings another caregiver, Laura, to interview with Anthony. Laura is very pretty and reminds Anthony of his other daughter, who is later revealed to have died in an accident. Anthony starts flirting with Laura, offering her a glass of whiskey, pretending to have been a professional tap dancer and then traps her in a question that’s absolutely devastating to her.

Anthony has a lot of anger and sarcasm issues. He thinks people are robbing him and lying to him. Every time he thinks his watch has been stolen, Anne finds it in one of his secret hiding places.

Slowly, the drama of Anthony’s dementia increases, although the movie does not declare it. The years and events are conflated. His memories intrude on reality.

Finally, he is in a gigantic care facility, where the nurse and the orderly are the two people he imagines to be Anne and Paul, and Anne has moved to Paris. Anthony asks plaintively, “What is going to become of me? Where is my watch so I can go on my journey?” The questions create heartbreaking moments.

Anthony Hopkins does such a great job of acting that the audience believes he has dementia, and he gets the audience to believe they might have dementia. The constant transitions between reality and false memories and delusions take their toll on Anthony and on the audience.

All of the other acting is also hyper real and incredibly upsetting. Anne loves her father passionately, although he’s constantly putting her down, telling other people in front of her that she is stupid, praising her sister, although he doesn’t remember her sister died, and otherwise mentally abusing her. How she can put up with him is amazing. Sadly, it seems to have destroyed her marriage.

There have been a lot of movies about aging, and the delusions that might ensue, including the great movie COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA, starring Burt Lancaster and Shirley Booth. THE FATHER may be the most powerful, the most disconcerting and the most frightening. However, it could have used more orchestration, which would have given the movie some pacing to relieve the horror of dementia. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children and other viewers. Watch THE FATHER at your own risk.