Movie review: The Father
If Chadwick Boseman was not already the sentimental pick and sure thing for a posthumous Best Actor Oscar, Anthony Hopkins would be picking up his second trophy since 1992's The Silence Of The Lambs come April 26.
It is a pity really, because The Father - opening in cinemas here on April 15 - is peak Hopkins, and that is saying something considering the 83-year-old veteran's staggering career.
He plays Anthony, who defiantly lives alone in his flat and is highly protective over his independence while dealing with progressing memory loss.
He stubbornly refuses a string of carers employed by his long-suffering daughter Anne (the always magnificent Olivia Colman, nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar), who has sacrificed so much for her father that her marriage dissolves because of the stress.
Co-written and directed by Florian Zeller and based on his 2012 play Le Pere, the disorientation and devastation on-screen is raw and real, playing out almost like a horror movie.
As Anthony's grip on reality unravels, we are forced to see everything through his point of view and experience the same constant confusion and frustration - space and time is jumbled up, while faces and places are not what they seem.
How did Anne appear as a different woman (Olivia Williams) in that early scene? And why are there two unknown men (Mark Gatiss and Rufus Sewell) around the house who claim to be the same person? Anthony himself switches from charming and paranoid to belligerent and melancholic.
But the most brutal scene has him breaking down over his inability to understand the world any more, as he tearfully and hopelessly laments that he feels like he is "losing his leaves" in the twilight of his life.
For anyone who has or had a loved one suffering from dementia, The Father is highly recommended viewing.
Heartbreaking and painful, the drama also traffics in humanity and empathy, providing insight into the emotional complexities of the disease that will make you review seemingly impossible situations with fresh eyes.
An invaluable road map into the mind of the disappearing person you once knew, it gives you the fuel to carry - and care - on.
THE FATHER (PG13)