The meaning of the film “Father” (2020) with Anthony Hopkins, what is this movie about

What really happens to the character of Anthony Hopkins in the movie “Father”

Country: UK, France

Genre: drama

Year of production: 2020

Directed by: Florian Zeller

Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss

“The Father” is a disturbing chamber picture. The meaning of the film “Father” is that old age is inevitable, and how important it is that in old age there are really close people next to us. And it’s also a film about how you can’t escape fate. But you can and should try.

What is the movie about

In the center of the plot of the film “Father” is the figure of an elderly respectable man named Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), who lives in a posh apartment in London.

The protagonist believes that, despite his advanced age, he can perfectly take care of himself. But his daughter Ann strongly disagrees with him. She is going to move to Paris and therefore wants to find a nurse for her father.

Anthony Hopkins, Olivia ColmanAnthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman play the lead roles. Frame from the film.

This task is extremely difficult, because Anthony is an old man with character. Simply put, the hero of Anthony Hopkins is stubborn as a donkey and extremely demanding. The situation looks quite trivial, but suddenly various oddities begin to occur and the content of the film “Father” becomes more and more confusing.

For example, strangers appear in the apartment, and the heroine herself begins to subtly change …

The storyline of the film with the brilliant Anthony Hopkins is a complex combination that includes the present, the past, as well as Anthony’s emotional experiences.

Everything that happens is shown through the eyes of the protagonist. In all analyzes and reviews, they notice this moment, and suggest that in this way the director tried to demonstrate how an elderly and very sick person sees the world.

The film “Father” is based on the play of the same name by the French writer and playwright Florian Zeller (he acted as a screenwriter and director), which is staged with great success in theaters around the world. Almost all the action takes place in one apartment, but despite this, the picture (by the way, Anthony Hopkins received an Oscar for his role in it) turned out to be very dynamic.

Plot transcript

At first, the film looks like a thriller, and it seems that everything that happens is just part of a cunning plan for a daughter who wants to send her father to a nursing home, improve her life and move to Paris.

But then it turns out that everything is not so simple. Moreover, it is so difficult that even the people involved in the creation of the picture were not completely sure what really happened there, what explanation can be found for this, and what is the meaning of all this.

Long before the finale, the viewer understands that the main character is not fooled, and his problem is much more serious than it seemed at first. The exact diagnosis in the film does not sound, but, most likely, Anthony suffers from dementia, or progressive Alzheimer’s disease.

The film “Father” is practically the physical embodiment of the process of deformation of consciousness, its extinction. Something similar is present with the main character of the work “Flowers for Algernon” Keyes.

The point of this approach is that modern man is just as disoriented as Anthony, and just as suspicious of everyone and everything. In this case, the viewer is not an outside observer, but practically a participant in the events: he seems to “move” into the head of the hero of Anthony Hopkins and tries to figure out what is happening.

Probably, the main idea of ​​the film “Father” intersects with the idea of ​​”King Lear”. There is no hidden meaning here: everything lies on the surface. But the picture does not become less profound from this.

The meaning of the film lies in how terrible children’s ingratitude can be. The protagonist of the painting “Father” is the same King Lear, and the heroine, Ann, is Goneril, who successfully pretends to be Cordelia. She is sincerely attached to her father and suffers because he suffers.

But still, we live in a society based on market principles. From the point of view of economic theory, we are all consumers, and our behavior is based on the theory of opportunity cost and on the principle of rationality. Everyone understands that an elderly parent needs care, but if there is an opportunity to use time in some other way, why not? ..

father and daughter conflictFrame from the film.

Until the very end, it is difficult to understand where is reality and where are the sick, confused thoughts of the protagonist. A number of episodes are repeated with some changes, and it is not easy, if not impossible, to figure out which version is true.

For example, an outsider suddenly appears in the apartment, claiming that this is his house, and he himself is Anthony’s son-in-law. Then a girl appears, unknown to either the main character or the viewer, who says that she is his daughter.

This is part of the author’s intention. To find an explanation for everything that happens on the screen, you need to look at the events through the eyes of the protagonist.

The viewer is confused even by the layout of the apartment, which serves as the scene of action. In the stage version, pieces of furniture were carried off the stage during a break between acts – until, in the end, there was only one bed left in an empty white room.

So the cinematic equivalent was found in the form of a labyrinth, which subtly changes. According to Zeller, when he wrote the script, he had special ideas about the protagonist’s apartment. Day after day, during filming, he made small changes to the layout. These were small, insignificant details. The viewer should have had a strange feeling: the situation is familiar, but something (it is not clear what) has changed. The result was a sense of disorientation.

Similar changes throughout the action became more and more noticeable. Closer to the final, it was already impossible to ignore them.

Particular attention in this movie is paid to the details. For example, in one of the mise-en-scenes, a mug falls and breaks. Probably, this mug symbolizes Anthony’s brain, which is gradually being destroyed by the disease.

The whole film is filled with these fragments. For example, Zeller focuses the viewer’s attention on the constantly disappearing wristwatch: this symbolizes the lost time. Also in the film, a conversation about Paris is regularly repeated. The shown metaphors give rise to the feeling of the presence of certain islands of reality, and also become one of the clues for Anthony in reality.

The color scheme of the picture also seems interesting: as the plot develops, the brown and green colors of the furnishings and costumes of the protagonist are replaced by blue and light blue: it seems that the blue tint symbolizes the disease that “eats” Anthony’s life.

Laura visiting familyThe role of Laura was played by Imogen Poots. Frame from the film.

When mentioning the film “Father” the word “puzzle” is often heard. Florian Zeller said that on the last day of filming, it turned out that his French and English producers had different versions of what actually happened in the film, and what was the figment of the main character’s imagination in it.

The producers were genuinely worried about this, and Zeller replied: “That’s the point: you have to doubt your own understanding.”

The film “Father” reminds us of the fragility of our consciousness and talks about how easy it is to lose ourselves. The picture involuntarily raises the question: how real is what we see?

The meaning of the ending

If at the very beginning of the film the behavior of Hopkins’ character seems annoying, then in the finale it is completely different. At the very end, the hero calls and clearly remembers only one person – his mother.

The ending of this picture, like many others like it, has several meanings. If we take the simplest version, then the meaning of the ending of the film “Father” is still that the unfortunate old man was simply “gaslighted” throughout the film – they drove him crazy.

There is also a more confusing explanation for the ending. When Anthony squints, a cut occurs that sends the viewer back to the apartment. Perhaps, during the entire tape, the hero is already in the hospital: this is hinted at by Ann’s exit at the very beginning, which echoes her exit from the hospital towards the end.

That is, probably, the viewer sees the “vinaigrette” from the memories, and returns to reality only at the very end of the action, shown on behalf of the nurse.

The painting “Father” was created “under Hopkins”. The director waited three years for Sir Anthony to complete another film.

Unofficially, it is believed that here the great actor played himself, because everything matches: the name, the date of birth, and the relationship with the daughter, and even the mother’s name is exactly the same.

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