Hugues Dayez reviews with “The Father”, Anthony Hopkins at the top of his game

After “Nomadland” and “Drunk”, Oscar winning films continue to hit our screens. This week, “The Father” which won the playwright Florian Zeller – with his English-speaking accomplice Christopher Hampton – the Oscar for best adaptation, and the Oscar for best actor for Anthony Hopkins, the second of his career.

The Father

In “The Father”, Hopkins plays Anthony, a retired engineer who has lived for years in his beautiful London apartment. His days are punctuated by his little rituals and regrets that his favorite daughter, who works abroad, does not come to visit him any more. In fact, this one died in an accident for years, but Anthony does not remember any more, affected by the disease ofAlzheimer. For his other daughter, Anne (Olivia Colman, perfect), it is the time for doubts and guilt : she wants to avoid placing her old dad in a specialized home, but her partner pushes her to take this step …

Read also: An Oscar for Anthony Hopkins in “The Father”

Florian Zeller does not content himself with filming a adaptation of his play hit “The Father” (created At that time in Paris by the late Robert Hirch). Of course, he retains the theatrical idea of ​​a behind closed doors, but he sometimes upsets the succession of scenes, he subtly brings in certain actors to place the spectator in the same confusion mental than Anthony. In this role of an old man who is losing his footing but who wants to save face, Hopkins makes Sparks. It had been many years – if we except his performance in “The Two Popes” – that the British actor seemed content to run the seal in productions unworthy of his talent. With “The Father”, he returns to the top, because his composition, which must reproduce the mood swings and variations of his character, avoids any boasting and is revealed in a impressive accuracy. Florian Zeller wanted to shoot his film in English in order to be able to direct Anthony Hopkins… He was right a thousand times over, by Jove!

Villa Caprice

Gilles Fontaine, a businessman to whom nothing can resist, is in the sights of the justice, who suspects him of having acquired his sumptuous property on the Côte d’Azur by bribing the local authorities. Arrogant, sure of himself, Gilles wants to afford the services of a tenor of the bar, Luc Germon. But the latter is tough, and does not allow itself to be bought easily … Between the financial shark and the brilliant lawyer, begins a subtle game of tussle. Who will succeed in manipulate the other ? This is the whole point of “Villa Caprice”.

The old truck driver Bernard Stora wrote the role of Germon while thinking of Niels Arestrup. As usual, the multicesarized actor gives depth and mystery to his role; the spectator is constantly wondering: what is Master Germon really thinking? Facing him, Bruel plays one of the most unsympathetic characters of his career, which may confuse his fans – but which proves that he is capable of stepping out of his comfort zone. Nevertheless, he is stolen the spotlight by another duo: Michel Bouquet, at 94, plays the contemptuous father of Niels Arestrup, and these games between Germon father and son, embodied by two exceptional actors, are the hidden nugget of “Villa Caprice”. At such times, the film makes one think of Simenon novels, this author past master to scrutinize the truth of beings.

Fifth set

Thomas, 37, was one of the greats French tennis hopes, but, twenty years earlier, he collapsed in the semi-final of Roland-Garros… And since then, he has never regained this level of excellence. Married and father of a little boy, the former champion alternates tennis lessons in the club run by his mother (Kristin Scott-Thomas, convincing), and matches in small tournaments. But Thomas still cherishes the dream of returning to the foreground, and breaks his piggy bank to try to pass the qualifying stage at Roland Garros.

“Fifth Set” is not a Hollywood “success story”; it’s not “Rocky on the court“. It is an exploration of the hidden side of top-level sport, the one that we do not show on television: the daily life of gifted athletes, but not enough to climb to the top and who “only know how to do that”. Their youth has been monopolized by the training, and they prove incapable of facing real life. Alex Lutz is very fair in the role of this aging and damaged tennis player, as stubborn as a mule, clinging to his dream even if it means falling out with those close to him. After his nerdy singer performance in the touching “Guy,” Lutz shows here the extent of his palette in a film that avoids pathos and improbabilities, data unfortunately frequent in this kind of drama.