Blu-Ray Review: The Father

The Father

I never saw The Father in theaters and didn’t know much about it, but it had a big year (for those who keep up with awards season). It got six academy award nominations and won two: one of those being for Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins. In watching this film, that award is well deserved. The other is for Best Adapted Screenplay for Florian Zeller, who wrote the screenplay (based on his play Le Pere) and directed it (this was his debut film).

This film starts off with Anne visiting her father in his apartment. He has been belligerent with his caretaker and claims the caretaker stole his watch (which he hides in the same spot every day and forgets). She tells him she is leaving and moving to Paris with a man, which confuses him because he knows of any man and only remembers her past marriage to a man named James. Throughout the film, we see fragments of life with him not knowing his other daughter, Lucy, had a horrible incident. Later, he remembers his daughter Lucy in the hospital but doesn’t necessarily connect the events. When confronted, he claims he has no memory problems and is agitated at being asked. We move to him living with Anne and her boyfriend, which we find is where he has been most of the time. Then we jump to him in a nursing home and then at the hospital with Lucy. It’s hard to give the full story, but he ends up dealing with things the only way he knows how.

If any of you have ever dealt with the horrors of Alzheimer’s and dementia, this film will be a tough watch. It hits close to home and presents the disease in a serious and poignant way. Unlike other films and attempts, it does not show the issue from the friends and family perspective but from the perspective of the victim of the disease. It allows us to take part in the confusion he experiences firsthand. We see clips of life and memories come and go and get shuffled and out of order. It becomes understandable why people with dementia are often confused and agitated. The world as they see it doesn’t make sense. In a rare moment of lucidity, reality hits them, and they know they are losing themselves but cannot do anything about it.

The acting is superb in this, and you can see why Hopkins earned an Oscar. Olivia Colman, in the role of his daughter Anne, is just as strong in her role (and was nominated for her role as well). The actors bring unbelievable realism to their roles, and you feel they really could be father and daughter. The directing is also great. For a first-time director, Zeller gives a strong showing. The choice of angles, cuts, and subtlety add complexity to the film and really draws you into the story. Some people are just masters of storytelling, and Zeller is clearly one of them.

The Blu-ray release itself is solid. The image is clean and crisp—no issues or errors in the transfer that I could see. The audio is clear, with the music never drowning out the dialog. This film is not an action film with lots of explosions and shootouts. It’s a quiet, subtle film and really lends itself to a simple, high-quality transfer without much being done to it.

The Father Blu-Ray and DVD Extras

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Homecoming: Making THE FATHER
  • Perception Check: Portrait of THE FATHER

The Father is available on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 18th from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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  1. This is the only Oscar nominated film I did not get to see this year but it is definitely on my radar. Very good review as it makes me want to see it that much more.

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