The film The Father has us view life through a different lens. While we may never fully understand a person’s experience of dementia, The Father demonstrates a unique and empathetic portrayal of living with dementia.
In June 2021, our 5-year-old University of Toronto Neurology Film Club assembled for a virtual viewing of the 2020 French–British film, The Father. Directed by Florian Zeller, it stars Anthony Hopkins as Anthony, a man with dementia, with co-stars Olivia Colman and Imogen Poots as witnesses to the progression of his disease and the corresponding lifestyle adaptations.
The Father begins with Anthony, a retired engineer, living alone and listening to music and concludes with his placement in a nursing home. In between, however, he, and we too, become disorientated to persons, place and time. The artful manipulation of sets and people allows us to share his confusion.
There are unsettling and dislocating switches between Anthony’s flat and that…