Movies have always been my thing, and when I get to spend time emotionally attached to a character in a film, it’s an escape. I’ve never taken for granted what the cinema provides me, and I never will. As I sit here with no end in sight about when movie theaters will be opened again, I look back on the year that was given to us and the performance that moved me.
Anthony Hopkins is one of the greatest actors of all-time, and at almost 83-years-old took on a role that was not just challenging the term of acting but also in the way of life itself. To take on the part of ‘Anthony’ within The Father meant he would potentially face his mortality or his own reality.
As I spoke with the director of the film Florian Zeller, he told me about what it was like for him to talk to Hopkins about this role, as he wrote it specifically with him in mind and even had a dream about it. Zeller also spoke about how he could have played it safe at this age, but Hopkins was the consummate professional as he had to go to uncharted territory.
What may seem confusing for us, the viewer, Zeller spoke about how his head’s vision was the opposite. He talked about the idea of wanting to make a film that had to be seen more than once, that film like Muholland Drive inspired the theme of repeat viewing. When I asked about the daunting task of going from a play to the big screen, Zeller was more than up for the job. He told me about the obstacles he had to face in changing his vision, but instead, he stood his ground, and I respect him so much more for doing so.
With each of my, now, three viewings, Anthony broke me more and more. You pick up on things that you don’t see from your first visit. First, you put yourself in Anne’s shoes (Olivia Coleman). She is in charge of taking care of her ailing father, who refuses to let go of the idea he is losing his marbles and ALSO treats her terribly. So you think, what would you do? How much could you take? Would you throw in the towel earlier than she did? Zeller forces us to answer these questions. Then, you put yourself in Anthony’s mind and what it would be like to be in his shoes during something like this. We all like to have control, but at what point do we say, I can’t do this on my own anymore.
Anthony Hopkins is a five-time Academy Award nominee with one victor under his belt for his groundbreaking performance in The Silence of the Lambs. To be good at something for so long is impressive, but to be great at something for so long is even better. Hopkins gave the best performance of his career at 83-years-old, and if that isn’t inspirational, I don’t know what is. I was mentally and emotionally moved by what Hopkins did in this film like I have been very few times in film before. Within every single movement, every word that came out of his mouth, and every action that he made, he reeled you in and made you feel everything he was feeling. It’s merely one of the most incredible performances I have ever seen in my life.
My admiration for this film was already high but having the opportunity to dissect the film with Florian was life-changing. I am just a guy who loves movies, and who happens to run a website, write reviews and get to be apart of a critics group, and for someone like him to sit down with me was pure joy.
I miss going to the movies 3 to 4 times a week, but over this last chaos-filled year, for that hour and a half while watching The Father, my life was perfectly fine. I can’t thank Zeller, Hopkins, Coleman, and the rest of the cast and crew of the film enough for that gift.