Living in his London apartment, 80-year-old Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) resists the care of his daughter, Anne (Olivia Colman). She’s off to live in Paris in a little while—or at least he keeps saying that. Now a caretaker by the name of Laura (Imogen Poots) is to tend for him. But Anthony’s mind is going, and it’s sooner or later that even he questions what he sees and says.

Directing his first feature, Florian Zeller repurposes his play Le Père for the screen. Christopher Hamilton gives his hand in adapting it, and Ben Smithard, ever the DP for interior British dramas it seems, continues his streak here. The Father is understandably constrained in scope; as the trailer shows, it’s also a story whose unreliable narrator muddies the waters in both its stage origins and truths.

I said in my Sundance review, “Directed and co-written by Florian Zeller from his own play, The Father doesn’t have much visual flair. It’s a first feature, largely takes place in one apartment, and centers on two characters. Its most consistent motif being frames within frame: doorways lead to hallways and corridors; paintings domineer rooms like portals to a world half remembered. Scenes, sequences, and arcs fray at the edges until they snake in on themselves. But for a movie as low-key movie as it is quietly brutal, this may have been the most fitting choice. “

The Father is currently set for a December release from Sony Pictures Classics, but the trailer is available to watch below in the meantime.

The Father opens on December 18.

No more articles