The Father


Viewed – 11 September 2021 online rental

The subject of Alzheimer’s disease is certainly going to be difficult viewing. This awfully cruel illness is hard to explore but in the hands of French novelist turned Director Florian Zeller and an actor of the calibre of Anthony Hopkins … I found myself heavily drawn into this powerful drama.

Hopkins plays ‘Anthony’ an ageing man who is looked after by his daughter (The Crown’s Olivia Coleman). The approach here is at first hard to follow as the setting and characters keep changing with no explanation, and even the time line jumps back and forth. Yet when it clicks and you realise such a confusing narrative is purposely due to Anthony’s perspective, you realise you’re witnessing what it might be like to suffer from this disease. It’s very cleverly done and I recommend just going with it until it’s final scenes – because trust me, it’s worth it.

Olivia Coleman is very good like always, convincingly playing a daughter struggling to care for her father. There’s also appearances from Mark Gattis, Rufus Sewell and Olivia Williams. However at the centre of it all is an incredibly layered and it has to be said, heart-breaking performance from Hopkins, who deserves every inch of that Oscar. A powerful, surprisingly amusing at times yet also very authentic drama that gripped me as much as it got me teary eyed. A must watch.

Verdict: Essential

Relic


Viewed – 07 November 2020 online rental

A woman gets word that nobody has heard from her mother in a while, so concerned she decides to pay a visit, bringing her daughter along with her. However upon arriving at the elderly woman’s house, it transpires she is missing. As the elderly woman appears to be suffering memory loss and possible dementia going by reminder notes pinned around the house, concern for her safety quickly materialises.

This drama at first seems like a study of a family and the horrible effects of old age. However as it progresses, it appears something more supernatural could be occurring. This is a slow burner but well acted throughout, especially the often dependable Emily Mortimer. It takes its time to get going and much of the ‘horror’ aspects are in the final act, where things turn very weird. However it has a rather tense and creepy tone from the start, isn’t reliant on cheap jump scares to make the viewer uneasy, and plays with one’s imagination effectively.

However a lack of ‘answers’ is frustrating and what that ending is meant to mean, I couldn’t say. Yet as a debut feature, there’s enough promise here to make director Natalie Erika James one to watch.

Verdict: Good