The award-winning movie

With more and more people living with dementia, with just over 850,000 people living with Alzheimer’s in the UK (the most common form) these movies show how reckonings with the disease in art are evolving.

“The Father” is Florian Zeller’s film adaptation of his own play, starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman. The film centres around a man struggling against the effects of dementia and his daughter’s efforts to help him. Many viewers have praised Zeller’s Oscar and Bafta winning screenplay for the subtle tricks to make the main character’s mounting disorientation feel first-hand for the audience with repeated shots and switching of actors to give the viewer a distorted sense of time. This effect is not only a reminder of people’s experiences of Alzheimer’s, but also a glimpse into the experiences of their loved ones.

As the story progresses with Anthony, we are taken through multiple rooms with details such as walls, decor and personal belongings constantly changing. Sometimes small enough that not even the viewer would notice. All of this comes together to play like a mystery, but not all the clues add up – as is the experience of someone living with dementia. The director, Zeller, has said that “The moment comes when you cannot understand everything, and you have to let it go, as the main character does. Then you can understand the story on an emotional level.”

Living with dementia

Many articles have said this film has become a valuable insight into living with dementia. Richard White, our care home director, has personally recommended people to watch this for a look into the lives of those experiencing dementia. As it gets harder for people to communicate, it gets harder for us to comprehend their perspective inside a mind in which memory, language and other important aspects are decaying. Filmmakers who have observed this first-hand with family members say their medium provides a bridge to this divide.

If the depiction rings true, the Alzheimer’s Association welcomes film portrayals that can help mitigate the stigma of the disease. Monica Moreno, senior director for care and support, said “There’s no two people who go through this disease in exactly the same way.” Not everyone with Alzheimer’s lashes out or feels fear, confusion or physical pain.

“The Father” borrows the claustrophobic style of a thriller, as Anthony flashes from charm to anger, and reacts to characters who seem suspect. As the facts he’s been clutching at eventually fall away, he asks, “Who am I, where am I?” But the way these answers are revealed to us deepens the feeling of what it’s like for him there.

Contacting Stanfield Nursing Home

If you are interested in finding out more information about the specialist dementia care provided at Stanfield, then head to our website today. You can also stay up-to-date with all our care home news on our social media. Alternatively, you can call 01905 420 459 to speak to a member of our helpful and friendly team.

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