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Florian Zeller
Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Imogen Poots
Writing Credits:
Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton

As an elderly man with dementia tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $30.99
Release Date: 5/18/2021

• “Perception Check” Featurette
• “Homecoming” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer & Previews


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The Father [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 20, 2021)

With 2020’s The Father, we look at the impact of dementia on a family. Based on Florian Zeller’s play, the film introduces us to Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an octogenarian in London.

Anthony attempts self-sufficiency - and he believes he achieves it. Anthony feels he needs no assistance to live his life.

However, his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) feels otherwise, as she thinks that his mental deterioration leaves him unfit to care for himself. The story examines his cognitive status.

I intentionally left the synopsis vague because Father comes with a bunch of plot and character developments that could easily fall into the spoiler domain. Suffice it to say that we can’t believe everything we see.

This makes Father unusual in the realm of “dementia stories”, and I suspect the movie’s approach caught some viewers off-guard. Going into Father, I assumed it would offer a standard straightforward tale of dementia and its connection to a family, one that gives us the usual melodrama.

And to a minor degree, it does, as we get some sense of the strain Anthony’s mental status creates. Nonetheless, most of the flick comes from his point of view, and that creates an intentionally disjointed tone.

Indeed, one never can relax through Father, as the urge to separate reality from fantasy becomes difficult to resist. I would encourage the viewer to attempt to avoid that path, as it seems fruitless and frustrating.

I feel that way because Father never offers an easy way out for the audience. In most movies of this sort, we’d end up with a Morris the Explainer scene that clearly lets us know what elements of the story took place as depicted and which didn’t, but that never occurs here.

As such, we remain off-kilter the whole time, and I appreciate that. Not that I frown on movies that come with a more obvious, concrete narrative bent, but Father works hard to give us something akin to an impression of what life would be like for someone with dementia. Material that ties up the tale with a nice bow would feel disingenuous and wrong.

A classy cast ensures that we don’t wallow in melodrama or cheap sentiment as well. In his Oscar-winning turn, Hopkins resists the urge to overdo Anthony’s emotional and cognitive swings, so he brings an honest take on the part.

As Anthony’s long-suffering daughter, Colman also helps ground the tale – though even many of her scenes come with the same lack of clarity in terms of reality vs. fiction, so don’t expect Anne to act as our Guide to Factual Interpretation.

Instead, Colman simply offers a performance that conveys the emotional conflicts Anne experiences, and like Hopkins, she plays the part in a natural way that avoids cheap theatrics.

All of this adds up to a bracing drama that offers a deep portrayal of dementia and its impact. The Father manages to spin the genre in a creative manner while it also hits home emotionally.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

The Father appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfying presentation.

Sharpness tended to be positive. A few shots showed a smidgen of softness, usually during interiors. Overall, though, detail seemed good.

I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.

Father went with a moderate teal impression, and some amber as well. These appeared fine within the film’s stylistic choices.

Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. I found this to be worth a “B+”.

A character drama wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a dynamic soundtrack, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of The Father fell into expected realms. This remained a highly subdued mix, one that lacked much I could call auditory theatrics, as it stayed focused on music and light ambience.

Audio quality satisfied. The music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy.

Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all came together in a satisfactory manner for a story such as this.

Two featurettes appear, and Perception Check runs eight minutes, 32 seconds. It brings comments from writer/director Florian Zeller, producer David Parfitt, and actors Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Rufus Sewell, and Olivia Williams.

“Check” examines story/characters and the movie’s approach to these domains as well as cast and performances. It mixes decent insights –mainly from Hopkins about his own father’s influence on his performance - with praise.

Homecoming lasts seven minutes, six seconds and offers comments from Hopkins, Zeller, Colman, Parfitt, Sewell, Gatiss, Williams, production designer Peter Francis, costume designer Anna Mary Scott Robbins and director of photography Ben Smithard.

“Homecoming” views set design, Zeller’s impact on the production, costumes and photography. It becomes a good look at these subjects.

Three Deleted Scenes occupy a total of five minutes, 58 seconds. We get “I Never Asked You For Anything” (2:07), “Did He Hear?” (2:22) and “Frightened” (1:38).

These offer a bit of exposition, mainly in terms of Anne’s decision-making. All three feel unnecessary for the final film, as they take us away from Anthony too much.

The disc opens with ads for The Truffle Hunters, French Exit, The Last Vermeer, Nine Days and I Carry You With Me. We also get the trailer for Father.

Rather than follow a standard path, The Father offers a twist on the usual tale of a man with dementia. This could flop, but instead, it becomes an insightful way to approach the subject matter. The Blu-ray brings positive picture and audio along with modest bonus materials. This turns into a good examination of a difficult topic.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.25 Stars Number of Votes: 4
0 3:
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