“The Father” is a beautiful, and emotional story about a man who suffers from dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. His daughter is taking care of him but she has to hire someone to help to deal with the highly complicated situation.
I truly applaud the intention of this film to make dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease the main topic. All of the situations are highly realistic, and the acting is simply excellent. The director, and the writer really know how to draw the audience into the story, and even into the mental state of the main character. The latter is done via the use of different actors that play one specific character. This confuses you while you are watching the film, and makes you understand how the main character experiences his disease. Moreover, it is very touching, and simultaneously sad to see the father daughter bond being impacted by this disease.
So basically watching “The Father” is a very intense, and emotional experience. I would even dare to say that the entire experience of watching it was valuable, and meaningful. However, I somehow do have a problem with perceiving “The Father” as a film because of the lack of a plot. Yes, we do see the journey of an elderly person who is struggling with dementia. However, this feels more like a predictable, slow, repetitive journey. Therefore, in my opinion this film seems to be more of an dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease awareness film than an actual film with a good plot. It focuses on a couple of emotions, which it does extremely well, but doing this for 97 minutes is a little too much in my opinion. Additionally, if you are looking for an original story then you might find this movie very one-sided because the plot is the typical dementia plot. Moreover, at one point the daughter wants to move away from England to live with her new boyfriend in Paris. This in my opinion is one example of a very cliché situation which is a little overdone. They could have written any other place in England to make it more realistic.
The first half of this film was only shot in an apartment, and later the audience sees different locations. This was a very appropriate choice because it shows us how ‘claustrophobic’ the disease is. The protagonist is unable to leave ‘his’ apartment, and only deals with his world, and perspectives. I guess that this film is the best film to show the full experience of this disease to outsiders, or people that are not fully aware of its impact. Therefore, “The Father” is an very important film. However, not a film that contains a well developed plot. Actually, I think that the entire plot is very stale, and not so interesting.
However, one could argue that this is a perfect film because it creates awareness, but in my opinion a perfect film is rewatchable every year. Again, it is a very beautiful film, but when you focus on the plot then it is rather one-sided. However, I don’t think it was the intention to create something more than this because the focus is only on the disease. And let me make it very clear that there is nothing wrong with this one-sided topic and plot. However, one can’t place some of the best movies (10/10) produced next to this one as there is a clear difference in plot structure. The difference in my opinion is that the best movies ever produced contain all basic human emotions (Fear, Anger, Sadness, Joy, Disgust, Surprise, Trust, Anticipation *Robert Plutchik’s theory). “The Father” only contains two of them at most which is a pretty limited emotional experience. However, it does contain the emotion of sadness at every level, during any given scene. Therefore, this film can be still qualified as an highly emotional (sad) film. But these are philosophical details, and discussions which are not necessary to get into.
The final verdict of a 6.5/10 is very reasonable in my opinion as anything less would be unfair to the great performance of all the actors, and anything more would be overvaluing the plot.
Directed by Florian Zeller. Writing Credits: Christopher Hampton (screenplay by) Florian Zeller (play) Florian Zeller (screenplay)
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Categories: Film Reviews Cat