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The Father: Film Review

By Thegenaboveme @TheGenAboveMe

The Father: Film Review

Released 27 Jan 2020. 

Director Florian Zeller delivers up an atypical perspective in The Father (2020) for a film that depicts dementia.
By doing so, he actually presents a perspective more typical than other films about memory challenges. 
The Father is one of about thirty "dementia films" that I've viewed in the last decade.  
Films about Dementia
I find Anthony Hopkins' portrayal (of a character also named Anthony) to be one of the most realistic. 
The majority of the film shows Anthony in conversation with a handful of care partners: family members--such as his daughter Anne played by Olivia Coleman--or those hired to care for him.  
I judge the film to be realistic based on spending five years volunteering at a continuing care retirement community and ten years studying dementia as a graduate student and college instructor of gerontology.  Books about Dementia
Most films that depict dementia adopt one of the following perspectives: 
  • the perspective of an adult child i.e., What They Had (2018) 
  • the perspective of a spouse   i.e., Still Mine (2013)
Less frequently, 
  • an omniscient perspective i.e., Iris (2001)
  • a first-person perspective of the person living with dementia
I'm not listing an example for the last perspective, because these films use this perspective as a "plot twist" for viewers to discover half way through (or later) that the protagonist is unreliable.
The Father, however, let's the viewers know early on that the main character is living with significant memory loss. I cried at the end as I recognized behaviors typical of people in mid-stage dementia. 
By showing things from Anthony's point of view, I developed greater sympathy and compassion. I can't imaging the level of confusion people experience when trying to keep track of names, faces, dates, and places--all while the mind is compromised by any one of several neurocognitive disorders. 
APA using Neurocognitive Disorders not Alzheimer's Disease
Cognitive Changes: The Usual Suspects

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