How Anthony Hopkins Inhabits ‘The Father’


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A hallway. A cabinet. A caregiver.

These may seem harmless elements in the domestic drama The Father, but when they switch from one scene to another, they unbalance both the film’s main character, Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), and the viewer.

This sense of confusion is at the heart of Florian Zeller’s film (nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture), which tells the story of a man suffering from dementia by immersing the audience in his experience.

In this breakfast sequence, Olivia Colman plays Anthony’s daughter and she talks to him about the imminent arrival of a caregiver whom he met in an earlier scene and who was then played by Imogen Poots. But when this woman arrives, another actress, Olivia Williams, is playing her.

“What I tried to do in ‘The Father’ is to put the audience in a unique position,” said director Florian Zeller, “as if they were in a way in the head of the main character.” And as a viewer, we have to question everything we see. “

He said he wanted the film based on his play to be “not just a story but an experience, the experience of what it could mean to lose everything, including your own orientation as a viewer.”

Read the review of “The Father”.

Read an interview with Anthony Hopkins.

Read an interview with Florian Zeller about adapting “The Father” for the screen.



Robert Dunfee