Over his six decades of work in front of the camera, Sir Anthony Hopkins has entertained audiences around the world with a litany of performances that have many saying he is the greatest actor of our generation. Hopkins has now taken that claim to new heights with his role in The Father, a 2020 movie that is the most-watched movie on Amazon.
The Father stars Anthony Hopkins as Anthony, an aging man who is slowly losing his battle with dementia. Olivia Colman plays Anne, his beleaguered daughter who is doing her best to help her father keep his mind straight, a task becoming more and more difficult. Making it even harder is the fact that Anthony doesn’t think he has any memory issues.
When we first meet Anthony, he is in a foul mood. He is in his flat and thinks his recent caretaker has been stealing from him. But what Anthony thinks is stealing is actually him forgetting where he puts things around his apartment. He also has forgotten many important events in his life. When Anne visits him, she informs him that she is moving to Paris with her boyfriend, which further confuses Anthony because he knows Anne is married to James. Anne informs him that she and James were divorced five years prior.
The Father continues its uncompromising look at the devastation dementia can cause and Anthony Hopkins’ powerhouse performance hits on all levels. When we next see Anthony we find out that he hasn’t been living in his own flat but he has been living with Anne and Paul, her boyfriend. Anthony, of course, doesn’t recognize Paul, thinking a strange man has entered his flat. When Anne comes back from the market, she is now a different woman (Olivia Williams). This Anne has also hired a new caretaker, Laura (Imogen Poots) for Anthony. Shortly after their meeting, Anthony tells her that she reminds him of his other daughter Lucy, whom he hasn’t spoken to for months but is unsure why.
As Anthony’s mind continues to slowly fade, the audience will constantly be asking themselves what actually is real and what isn’t. Writer/director Florian Zeller, who based the screenplay on his own novel titled Le Père, brilliantly takes audiences on the sad ride that is dementia. For Anthony Hopkins’s brilliant performance, he has been nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award, the sixth time he has received this nomination, winning once for his portrayal as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. This nomination also makes Hopkins the oldest actor to ever be nominated for a Best Actor award.
When Anthony Hopkins made The Father in 2020, it marked the prolific actor’s seventh decade in which he’s worked. Hopkins’ career started in 1960 and since that time has seen many highs without seeing many lows. Always the consummate professional, Hopkins was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for his services to the arts. Ten years later, Anthony Hopkins received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2008, he received the BAFTA Fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, a lifetime achievement award.
Anthony Hopkins has been part of many notable films over his long career. Steady throughout his early career, Hopkins began to get recognition with movies such as Audrey Rose, A Bridge Too Far, and International Velvet. He then gained more acclaim with his roles in The Elephant Man, playing Hitler in The Bunker, and Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Hopkins would continue his steady work until 1991 when he’d take home the big prize for fully embracing Hannibal Lecter, a role he’d play two times more in the 2001 thriller Hannibal and then return the following year as Hannibal in Red Dragon. Besides Hannibal Lecter, Hopkins has played a number of other memorable characters. He was Richard Nixon in Nixon, Abraham Van Helsing in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Pablo Picasso in Surviving Picasso, John Quincy Adams in Amistad, and Don Diego de la Vega in The Mask of Zorro. And let’s not forget that he played Thor’s father Odin in a few Marvel films.
The Father has been met with much critical fanfare. It has not received the wide release as movie theaters around the country are only starting to reopen. But holding the top position on Amazon with this type of movie is quite an amazing feat for the 83-year-old Anthony Hopkins. Subject matter aside, it is a bravura performance by a true professional who is still at the top of his game. Check it out.