THE FATHER. (2020) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

THE FATHER. (2020) DIRECTED BY FLORIAN ZELLER. BASED ON THE PLAY, LE PERE, BY FLORIAN ZELLER. SCREENPLAY BY FLORIAN ZELLER AND CHRISTOPHER HAMPTON.
STARRING ANTHONY HOPKINS, OLIVIA COLMAN, OLIVIA WILLIAMS, IMOGEN POOTS, RUFUS SEWELL AND MARK GATISS.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Wowee-wow. Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for his portrayal of the titular father in this, and the film-makers won another one for Best Adapted Screenplay, and no wonder. This is a beautiful, flawless and agonisingly painful portrait of a man with dementia, a man whose once fine, needle-sharp brain is falling away from him piece by piece, leaving him devastated.

Anthony Hopkins is sublimely good in the lead role. He plays an old man, also called Anthony, who is living with his daughter, Anne. He finds life these days strange and confusing. He keeps losing or mis-placing things, forgetting things and people. Whenever he painfully adapts to one reality, the director immediately changes it up so that Anthony, but also the viewer, is left wondering, which reality is real?

Does Anthony live in his own flat with his daughter, or is he living with Anne in Anne’s flat? Is Anne married or divorced, and is her husband called Paul or James? Is this husband or is he not abusive to Anthony, because he’s fed up with all the sacrifices his wife has had to make to accommodate her ageing father? Is Anthony’s home carer the young blonde Laura, or the much older dark-haired woman? Did someone steal Anthony’s watch or has he just forgotten where he’s hidden it as usual?

The scenes segue-way seamlessly into each other as Anthony is confronted with different realities, whilst being unable to tell which is real, which is the past, which is the present and which simply may never have happened at all.

Anthony Hopkins, surely the greatest actor of his generation, runs the full gamut of emotions here, from angry and accusatory to sly and sarcastic to frightened and helpless, calling for his mother who would of course be long dead by now.

His performance is so immaculate he won the Oscar for it. They should have given him all the Oscars and just been done with it. You will bawl like a baby at the end, by the way, so be warned. The last scene, with the trees rustling in the breeze against a glorious English sky, is just stunning to look at and deeply moving, especially given what’s transpired just before.

I love Anthony Hopkins. I’ll be gutted when he eventually shuffles off his mortal coil, which hopefully won’t be for a long time yet. My favourite movies of his, in chronological order, would be THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980), ARCH OF TRIUMPH (1984), 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD (1987), THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991), HOWARD’S END (1992), THE REMAINS OF THE DAY (1993) and HANNIBAL (2001), the sequel to THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

Hannibal Lecter, his character in these two superb films LAMBS and HANNIBAL, has some fantastic lines of dialogue:

‘I’m having an old friend for dinner…’

‘So, bowels in, or bowels out?… Bowels out it is then.’

‘I’m giving serious thought… to eating your wife…’

‘Well, hello, Clarice…’ This last one mightn’t sound like the sparkliest repartee ever recorded, but it’s the way he says it and the way he looks at Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling, like he’s amused by her on the one hand and wants to eat her face off on the other.

They have a strange relationship, that pair. He’s fascinated by her and even respects her, and she, though repelled by what he’s done, still treats him like a human being. He likes her ‘shapely feet’ and buys her fabulous Gucci shoes and a matching designer dress, but I don’t think he’d want to have sex with her. I think he’d only want to look, and worship, and savour, but hey, I could be wrong. He could be as horny for her ‘cornpone country pussy’ as a toad in mating season, for all I know.

Anyway, THE FATHER is probably one of the best films on the subject of dementia you’ll ever watch. It covers such related topics as elder abuse (very upsetting to see) and the pressures and burdens placed on adult children who have to care for aged parents with the memory loss, difficulties with performing everyday tasks and emotional problems which all come under the umbrella of dementia.

I’m glad Anthony Hopkins won another Oscar late in his career. Not only did he thoroughly deserve it for this, but it’s also a bit like a nice bookend to it all. Although rumour has it that he will reprise his role of Anthony in Florian Zeller’s next film, THE SON. Hopefully we’ll all live to see that one.
(THE SON, THE MOTHER and this one, THE FATHER, initially formed a trilogy of plays written by Florian Zeller. See?)

Do watch THE FATHER anyway, streaming on Amazon Prime right now. Anthony Hopkins provides us with a masterclass in acting we’d have to be nuts to miss out on.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
 
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her new book, THIRTEEN STOPS EARLIER, is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://amzn.to/3ulKWkv
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Stops-Sandra-Harris-ebook/dp/B089DJMH64
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thirteen-Stops-Later-Book-ebook/dp/B091J75WNB/
 

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM. (2020) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: DELIVERY OF PRODIGIOUS BRIBE TO AMERICAN REGIME FOR MAKE BENEFIT ONCE GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN or BORAT 2 or BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM. DIRECTED BY JASON WOLLNER. BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY SACHA BARON COHEN.
STARRING SACHA BARON COHEN, MARIA BAKALOVA AND TOM HANKS AS HIMSELF.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘I must protect my daughter’s vagine from American mayor.’

‘Take my anoos!’

I’ll be honest with you. I love this film. I love this character, Borat. Borat’s bluntly expressed political incorrectness is exactly what we need in this day and age to help us laugh at how crazily ‘woke’ we’ve become. The more politically incorrect the better, I say. Bring it on.

This film is a sequel or at least a follow-up to the original 2006 movie, BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN. In it, journalist Borat Margaret Sagdiyev- yes, Margaret!- has been imprisoned in Kazakhstan since the previous film was released for bringing shame on his home country with his cinematic offering. It makes Kazakhstan look like a poor and backwards nation of ignorant peasants, lol, but that’s the joke, see?

Anyway, he is released by his country’s Prime Minister on the condition that he makes it up to Kazakhstan by delivering a gift from there to Donald Trump’s second-in-command, Mike Pence. (There are reasons why Borat’s not allowed to get near Trump himself…)

The gift, which will hopefully endear Kazakhstan’s Premier to the biggest world leader, will take the form of Kazakh’s very own Minister of Culture and Kazakhstan’s most famous porn actor, Johnny the Monkey. Yes, Johnny really is an actual monkey, lol. Borat goes to say goodbye to his family, only to find that a ‘non-male son’ of his, actually a teenage daughter named Tutar, is living in the barn.

Tutar is overjoyed to see her Daddy, and stows away to America with him in Johnny the Monkey’s trunk. Johnny doesn’t survive the journey, so it’s just as well that Borat has something else he can gift to Vice President Pence on behalf of Kazakhstan… his lovely daughter, Tutar…

Tutar is thrilled to bits at the thought of being made-over into a Disney-style princess like Princess Melania Trump, and living in the kind of beautiful ‘bride-cage’ in which Trump keeps his stunning missus. It’s all she’s ever wanted. She gets a blonde hair-dye job and a crash course in how to be submissive and agreeable to the American male, because that’s how American males apparently like their ladeez…!

Tutar in a dress shop: ‘I want man to make sex attack on me…!’

Borat in the same place: ‘Where are your ‘no means yes’ dresses…?’
 
There are some hilarious moments at a pro-life medical centre, where in all the confusion it appears that Borat has accidentally impregnated his own daughter, and also at a posh debutante ball, in which Tutar’s monthly period or ‘moon blood’ makes at least as big a splash as her and Borat’s father-daughter dance.

We learn that the coronavirus that brought the world to a standstill in 2020 is a ‘fake’ or ‘hoax’ virus, and also that the Holocaust, ‘our country’s proudest moment,’ according to Borat, meaning Kazakhstan, didn’t actually happen.

But then Borat meets a friendly Holocaust survivor who convinces him that it did happen, so then he’s as happy as Larry again. (Don’t the Kazakhstanis like the Jews, then…? I’m afraid I’m not at all au fait with the history there.)

It turns out as well that the men of Kazakhstan, Borat included, have been lying to their women for years in order to keep them down. Tutar is shocked but delighted to discover that masturbation won’t kill her and that women are not only allowed to drive but physically able to as well. Their country’s ‘Bible,’ or the Ministry for Agriculture and Wildlife’s Daughter-Owning Manual, as it’s often known, might be a tad out of date, harrumph harrumph…

The controversial ‘Running of the Jew’ has been replaced by the ‘Running of the American,’ but Jewish viewers still must cope with an anti-Semitic chocolate cake and Borat’s wildly inappropriate choice of destination when he’s feeling suicidal…

Rudy Giuliani (he doesn’t acquit himself terribly admirably) and Mike Pence appear in the film, seemingly without their permish, and the scientific community will be excited to hear that the real source of COVID-19 is revealed in the film. Never mind the Wuhan flu, Borat Margaret, we’re looking at you…!

Oh, and Borat wears a ‘mask-ini’ in this film as a loving tribute to COVID-19. I just love this guy, and I want to see more of him, not less. The ‘mask-ini’ is as good a way as any to achieve that, I suppose!

I love the way that Sacha Baron Cohen has no qualms at all about making himself look foolish. It’s great when actors are brave like that. Sign of a true professional, that is. Oh, and I want to dedicate this review to Billy Sexcrimes. He knows who he is…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
 
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her new book, THIRTEEN STOPS EARLIER, is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://amzn.to/3ulKWkv