Our review of a new movie focused on dementia, The Father

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Based on the award-winning play and nominated for six Academy Awards, The Father does what few movies have done in this way – it places us in the mind of the person living with dementia instead of that of the outsider.

The story is centred on Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an 80-year-old man living in a flat in London, and his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) who cares for him. Anne is moving to Paris and wants to ensure his care before she leaves, with some resistance from Anthony.  

As Anthony’s dementia symptoms progress, we see him experiencing disorientation when it comes to people, conversations and the changing environment around him. This is presented through fractured storytelling that takes the viewer on his journey, while also offering insights into Anne’s point of view. At times it can be confusing to follow and difficult to decipher what’s real, showing us an insight into Anthony’s reality.

The Father is the directorial debut of French novelist and playwright Florian Zeller, adapted from his own play. Zeller drew on memories of his grandmother, who raised him and lived with dementia.

It will be confronting for many who choose to watch, particularly those with a lived experience of dementia. But there is no doubt of how impactful it is – it is a beautifully crafted film with powerful performances that will stay with you.

The Father opens nationally in cinemas on 1 April 2021. You can watch the trailer here

For a limited number of people in Sydney and Melbourne, Dementia Australia has been given free tickets to see an advance screening of The Father.

To reserve your seat in Sydney at Ritz Cinemas, Randwick on Tuesday 23 March, at 6.15pm, please click here: SYDNEY – March 23

To reserve your seat in Melbourne at Cinema Nova Carlton on Tuesday 30 March, at 6.15pm, please click here: Melbourne – March 30

This event will be managed by the film’s publicists. Once you register through the above links all communications will be through the publicists.

We thank Sharmill Films for these tickets.

If the film prompts any concerns and you would like to speak to someone who can provide support and guidance, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.