‘The Father’ – Movie Review

Written by: Hao Rui (22-A4)

Designed by: Rebecca Yap (22-O1)

The Oscar-winning movie, The Father, was adapted from French playwright Florian Zeller’s stage play. Inspired by his grandmother’s experience of suffering from dementia, Florian framed this play to let the audience view the world from the eyes of a dementia patient, who is also the main character of this movie, Anthony. For example, Anthony’s son-in-law, Misnamed many times throughout the movie. The furniture in Anthony’s flat also keeps changing their positions or their appearance. Hence, the movie seems  illogical at first. However, once the audience gets the idea that they are experiencing the life of a patient of dementia, everything makes sense. 

Rather than simply being a movie, The Father is more like a first-person VR experience. The audience can feel the frustration of dementia patients when they cannot figure out what is happening in the movie. Personally, I believe the most effective way to make people  cognisant of dementia and its debilitating effects on one’s life, is by giving them the chance to experience the struggles themselves. This is because It is hard for people to put themselves in others’ shoes when they do not even understand what others are experiencing. 

According to HealthHub, in Singapore, 1 in 10 people above the age of 60 suffer from dementia.Dementia is not merely the loss of memory, it can also affect the patients’ mental health. Illnesses like depression, paranoia, and anxiety disorders can occur  along with dementia. Hence, it is important for the family of dementia patients to constantly pay attention to their emotions. Sending such patients to nursing homes to receive professional help may be a viable option, but the drawback is that loneliness may worsen their mental issues if their families do not provide them with enough support.

However, the families of the patients are under tremendous pressure. Aside from focusing on their personal lives, they have the added burden of paying attention to the patient round the clock. This is evinced in the scene in The Fatherwhere Anthony’s daughter was so frustrated and exhausted that she had no choice but to send Anthony to a nursing home since she needed to deal with her personal affairs. 

This movie really portrays the struggles of dementia patients and their families. I believe this movie is crucial in heightening societal awareness regarding the plight of dementia patients and their families. It urges society to take action  to provide them with the help they need. Therefore, I would recommend this movie since it is fabulous as both a piece of art and a type of social campaign.