The Father Ending Explained & Film Analysis

The spring of 2021 was marked by the release of the British-French psychological drama Father, starring Oscar-winning Anthony Hopkins in the title role. In the film Father, the meaning of the plot reaches such dramatic depths that it leaves no one indifferent. Any cinephile, having read the analysis of the dramatic tape, will understand why this film cannot be missed.

The Father meaning, summary, explanation of the film’s ending

Summary of the film The Father

The protagonist of the picture is an elderly pensioner Anthony, a resident of London. The man is already well over 70 and, despite the fact that he managed to maintain physical vigor, the mind is increasingly failing the old man. Anthony has a daughter, Ann, who plans to move to Paris with her lover.

You can’t leave your father alone. An old man suffering from dementia needs care. But none of the nurses stay long because of the old man’s bad temper.

At first glance, the story seems pretty simple. But as the story progresses, the meaning of the film Father becomes more and more confusing.


It all starts with the fact that Anthony kicked out another nurse, accusing her of stealing a watch. Ann, having learned about this, swears with her father, threatening to send her to a nursing home. The hero himself believes that he does not need a nurse, he does an excellent job on his own.

But the very next day, Anthony sees a stranger in his apartment. The stranger says amazing things – he is the husband of Ann Paul, the apartment belongs to him and his wife, who at the moment has gone to the store.

The old man is looking forward to his daughter, hoping that with her arrival the situation will be clarified. But instead of Ann, a strange woman appears, completely unlike his daughter in appearance. Anthony is confused and annoyed. What is happening scares the man.

Ann takes her father to the doctor for a check-up and then hires a new nurse, Laura. The new nurse reminds the man of his youngest daughter, Lucy, whom he has always loved more than Ann. The old man is upset that his favorite does not appear at all, does not visit her father. In fact, Lucy has long been dead. And when Laura expresses her sympathy for Lucy’s death in the accident, Anthony doesn’t understand what he is talking about.

Interesting! “Father” was the debut film of the French playwright Florian Zeller, the author of the theatrical play of the same name, written in 2012. Zeller first appeared as a screenwriter and director of a feature film.

The final

Ann constantly quarrels with her husband because of her father. One day, Anthony hears their quarrel, which flared up due to the cancellation of a trip to Italy. Ann tries to protect her father, but Paul, unlike his wife, is not ready to make sacrifices for the sake of the old man. Left alone with his father-in-law, Paul accuses the hero of interfering with their lives and even raises his hand against him, slapping him and forcing the old man to burst into tears.

In the next scene, Anthony, waking up and leaving the apartment, finds himself in a hospital corridor. Before him stands the bloody face of Lucy, who was in the hospital.

Then the old man wakes up again, but now it’s a bedroom in a nursing home. Nurse Katherine is next to the hero. It was her in the initial scenes that the hero mistook for his daughter. Anthony learns from Katherine that her daughter has gone to Paris.

The old man weeps bitterly and calls for his mother. The nurse consoles him, promising to take him for a walk in the park.

Meaning of the film The Father

“The Father” in 2021 can hardly be attributed to light paintings. To better understand what the meaning of the film is, you need to watch it thoughtfully.

The topic of senile dementia has been raised more than once in many films, but for the first time the gradual degradation of the personality is shown not from the point of view of an outside observer – a doctor, relatives, friends, but from the inside, through the eyes of the patient himself.

The viewer is forced to take the place of the hero, living the story with him. And if in the initial scenes everything is quite simple – the main character, his daughter and the situation that needs permission, then after a few minutes the viewer, like old man Anthony, is confused and does not understand what is happening.

There will be a lot of similar surprises that make you wonder where is reality and where is the hero’s delusional sick imagination. All attempts to somehow unravel and rationalize what is happening end in failure. This is because the meaning of the film Father is not just in showing senile dementia, but in conveying sensations that allow you to plunge deep into the consciousness of the hero.

The authors managed to achieve this goal thanks to the brilliant play of Anthony Hopkins, whose eyes and facial expressions tell much more than any dialogue. The face of the actor reflects the natural fear transmitted to the viewer.

Interesting! The role of the protagonist was intended for one actor – Anthony Hopkins, who is the same age as the “father”. The scriptwriter and director Florian Zeller did not see another actor in this role and was only waiting for Hopkins’s consent to act.

The combination of the image of Anthony Hopkins with an ambiguous, difficult to understand plot gives the film “The Father” a frightening sense. What makes it scary is the realism of what is shown, suggesting that this can happen to anyone.

What is the essence of the ending

Throughout the picture, the viewer is trying to understand how the wandering through the labyrinth of the hero’s memory will end. But the authors of “Father” did not complicate the meaning of the finale, presenting a simple, but the only true ending to the film.

Ann, who has long been tormented by an insoluble dilemma – to send her father to a nursing home or take care of the old man herself, sacrificing her personal life, finally makes a decision.

Anthony ends up in a nursing home in the arms of a nurse. The old man, who does not understand what is happening to him, bewilderedly admits that “as if he had lost his leaves.”

Despite the fact that in the film Father the meaning of the plot is more or less clearer towards the end, the painful feeling does not leave the viewer. The final scene with the old man crying and calling for his mother causes pain and tears.

Talking about an important and frequently encountered problem, the authors do not try to evaluate the actions of the characters. The director of the film, Florian Zeller, managed to avoid declaring morality, turning the plot into a personal experience experienced by the viewer along with the hero.

In the picture Father, the meaning of what is shown helps to understand how precious life is and how important it is to support and love your loved ones, even if they do not recognize you.

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