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The Father (2021)

1h 37m Drama 2021


Preview screening,

courtesy of Lionsgate UK.

To activate hard of hearing sub-titles, please click on the ‘cc’ button, bottom right of the playback window, and select ‘English Captions’.

Anthony Hopkins became the oldest recipient of the ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role’ Oscar for this extraordinary multi-layered portrayal of a father struggling to make sense of the world as dementia cruelly takes hold. Hopkins plays Anthony, a fiercely independent, quick-witted, if forgetful, octogenarian with a cheeky grin and an obsessive attachment to his wrist watch. He stubbornly rejects or drives away the carers engaged by his daughter as another persona increasingly emerges – disorientated, distressed and angry.

Adapting his award-winning play, writer-director Florian Zeller makes an astonishing feature debut, scooping a ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ Oscar for a film that profoundly immerses us in the labyrinthine chaos of Anthony’s mind, playing tricks and constantly forcing us to question what is unfolding in front of our eyes. Hopkins is ably supported by a stellar British cast including an Oscar-nominated Olivia Colman as his loving daughter, who is powerless to help and can only watch as the father she knows and loves slowly slips away.

Including its two Oscars, the film has received 131 award nominations and has won 24, collecting BAFTAs for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Leading Actor and BIFAs for Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Editing.

‘Combining mystery and psychodrama, The Father is a majestic depiction of things falling away… Zeller’s relentlessly subjective approach places us slap-bang in the middle of Anthony’s distorted memories. It’s a brutal, terrifyingly simple technique, backed by a production design that manipulates the details of his surroundings just enough to make us question where — and when — we are.’ - Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times.

‘Zeller… has pulled off a dazzling feat here… Struggling to navigate this muddied mélange of past and present is a brilliant Hopkins, giving a performance that’s both charismatic and ferocious… It’s some of the absolute best work of Hopkins’ lengthy and storied career… Olivia Colman is consistently his equal.’ - Christy Lemire,

CIFF audience comments:

The Father was an immersive and disorienting experience, which was the intention of the makers - so we share in the emotions and mental problems of the father Anthony.’

‘As always Anthony Hopkins is amazing.’

‘Highly recommended.’



Florian Zeller

Original play by

Florian Zeller


Florian Zeller


Christopher Hampton


Ben Smithard






France, UK


Trademark Films, Lionsgate

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