Anthony Hopkins amazes in new role


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– French novelist and playwright Florian Zeller may be a first-time film director, but he seems to have the skills of a seasoned professional. His debut feature, The father—Adapted from his award-winning 2012 work of the same name — it has a 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 85 reviews. Of course, star Anthony Hopkins, playing an 80-year-old man battling dementia, has something to do with it. What critics say:

  • “At the same time incredibly effective and deeply disturbing, The father it might be the first film about dementia to give me the creeps, “writes Jeannette Catsoulis in the New York Times. “He plays with perspective so cleverly that it is impossible to maintain any kind of emotional distance.” In fact, “Zeller’s relentlessly subjective approach places us in the midst of Anthony’s distorted memories” so that viewers “wonder where and when we are.”
  • It is the absence of stability that makes the film “such an impressive experience,” “a sensory experience compressed into stark poetry,” writes Joe Morgenstern in the Wall street journal. Playing “intricate mind games with the audience,” Zeller delivers a film that is “seductive, relentless, terribly moving, and occasionally very funny,” but Hopkins is “the master of everything,” he adds. “The actor merges with the character in a performance that is astonishing and inspiring in equal measure.”
  • Hopkins delivers his best performance in decades in this “immersive study of the character of an elderly man struggling to rationalize his existence while losing control over the people and things around him,” writes Brian Truitt in USA Today. An “amazing” Hopkins “gets to touch every part of the emotional spectrum and the result is as indelible a role as when Hopkins donned the Hannibal mask and won an Oscar for The silence of the lambs. “
  • “It’s one of the best jobs in Hopkins ‘long and storied career,” but fellow Oscar winner Olivia Colman, playing Hopkins’ daughter, “is consistently his equal,” Christy Lemire writes on RogerEbert.com. “As our guide, as much as Zeller allows us, Colman is tremendous,” he writes. Lemire also applauds production designer Peter Francis and editor Yorgos Lamprinos. Lamprinos’ work here “is so complicated and yet so discreet, it is like a magic trick before our eyes.”

The film will open in select theaters on Friday and nationwide on March 12. (Read more movie review stories.)

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