Anthony Hopkins won the BAFTA and the Oscar for his role as Anthony, the defiant 80-year-old living with Alzheimers and rejecting the carers that his daughter, Anne, encouragingly introduces. Yet help is also becoming a necessity for Anne; she can’t make daily visits anymore and Anthony’s grip on reality is unravelling.
As we experience the ebb and flow of his memory, how much of his own identity and past can Anthony cling to? How does Anne cope as she grieves the loss of her father, while he still lives and breathes before her?
The simplicity of Florian Zeller’s screenplay is in its ability to mislead without the audience feeling misled. As each new scene unfolds we experience the same unsettling displacement paradox as Anthony, always searching for some small thing to anchor us to some kind of reality. It’s a highly accomplished work, emotionally fulfilling and replete with questions.