The Oscar-winning British actor Anthony Hopkins returns to the cinema with ‘The father’, a film about the loss of memory in old age.
Dementia is a syndrome that involves impaired memory, intellect, behavior, and the ability to perform activities of daily living. According to the World Health Organization, it is not an inevitable consequence of aging, but the number of people with dementia is increasing rapidly around the world (some 50 million people suffer from it).
In this regard, it is on this subject that the French filmmaker Florian Zeller used to offer The father (The Father). The film stars Anthony Hopkins, who plays an aging Welshman who begins to lose his memory. When his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) moves in to help him, he is forced to deal with her loosening of reality, as she begins to mourn the loss of her father as she once knew him. ANDIt’s a tough subject, yes, but for his debut feature, the director used the stories about the aging mind, as they have gained popularity as the population lives longer lives, But what Zeller is trying to do is show the difficulties from the patient’s point of view, rather than the usual advantage of saddened loved ones.
The film was nominated for four Golden Globes, including best actor for Hopkins. In a year full of titanic male performances (Chadwick Boseman, Delroy Lindo, Riz Ahmed), the octogenarian British actor is prominent for his seismic turn in this role whose character bears the same name: Anthony.
The drama begins when Anthony receives a visit from his daughter and admits that he plans to move from London to Paris to live with a new boyfriend. And obviously, his father is distressed. It’s when the movie begins to take turns because what Anthony begins to see is not what happens. Details, names, and faces blur a bit more each time a character takes another direction before the veteran’s eyes. It sounds somewhat theatrical, but it is because the script is based on a play. Frank Langella won a Tony Award in 2016 for playing the title character on Broadway.
“What I wanted to do was not tell the story from the outside, but from the inside, and put the audience in an active position, as if it were in the head of the main character. Wanted to The father it was a bit more than a story, but as an experience, as if you (the viewer) were the one who lost his way ”, explains Zeller to Variety.
Zeller wrote for the first time The father a decade ago as a libretto titled The father, and written in French, his first language, it premiered in 2012 in Paris. It was praised by critics, filled with awards, and was eventually performed in 45 countries. “Of course, the first thoughts and advice you get when adapting a play to a movie is to try to write new scenes outdoors, to make it feel more cinematic. And that’s a temptation, and generally what you do, ”says Zeller, who was inspired by her grandmother, a person who began to experience dementia. “It was a painful process, suddenly becoming powerless. You can love someone and you discover that love is not enough ”.
Owen Gleiberman, de Variety, said: “Hopkins is absolutely stunning. Act, for a time, with a grayish charm and a roaring certainty… It is a cosmic confusion mixed with terror. Anthony is losing more than his memory, he is losing himself. “
“Now I am 83 years old, so I am at that dangerous age. It felt like second nature. I don’t know why, maybe because I’ve been in acting for a long time. It was such a wonderful part to play, but it was so easy because I guess I’m closer to that now. It was so powerful and so simple, so direct, so concise, so compact. I have been lucky, in the last few years I have been involved in some wonderful movies, but this was really unique, “Hopkins told deadline.com.
The actor’s extraordinary six-decade career has been marked by his ability to be great and terrifying without being physically imposing. Hopkins has been brilliant playing real men like Richard Nixon, Alfred Hitchcock, Pablo Picasso, CS Lewis, and Pope Benedict XVI. “It sounds very cheesy, but it has made me very aware now of how precious life is and how we hold ourselves inside something so mysterious,” says Hopkins in Variety. “For me, life is just a kind of dream. It is an illusion that has me aware of something else. That life is much more powerful than we begin to understand. There is something so deep within us that we do not even begin to understand. “
The father It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival the previous January and since then Hopkins’ performance has been highlighted by critics, who hope that the role of the veteran with dementia will lead him to fight for an Oscar again, which has eluded him. since he won it for The silence of the inocents (1991). His character of The father He is very confused, but Hopkins said that the actor was not (laughs), since he commented that interpreting that confusion was a pleasure. “The script was so engaging, so magnetic, condensed, to the point… I couldn’t believe my luck at my age to be offered that. And when Olivia was chosen, I thought: What else do I want? The Wrap.
It is worth remembering that the actor suffers from alcoholism. In December 2020, Anthony Hopkins posted a video on Twitter to commemorate 45 years of being sober. “It has been a hard year full of pain and sadness for many, many, many people, but today 45 years ago I had a wake-up call. I was heading for disaster, I was drinking myself to death. “
About his illness, The Sunday Times did an interview with him in which he talks about that past. “Looking back, I am not proud of myself because I caused a lot of damage. It’s deadly to be around drunkards and I was one of those. But even if I didn’t want to repeat those years, because I hurt people, anxiety and anger were a driving force in my life ”, recalled the actor, who also suffers from dyslexia.
Hopkins doesn’t stop. Soon we will see him again in the movies The Virtuoso, Zero Contact and Elyse, the latter directed by his wife, Stella Hopkins, in her film debut. In this thriller Psychological that focuses on the life of a woman with mental disorders, apart from acting, Anthony Hopkins is also the creator of the soundtrack.
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Dementia affects Anthony Hopkins in ‘The father’ | Cinema | Entertainment