The Father

The Father ★★★★

Halfway through this movie, a friend called and wanted to catch up. I relished the opportunity to take a break. Then, I came back, watched the ending, and sat down on the floor.

The Father reminded me of Swallow, one of my favorite horror movies of the last few years. In the latter, we're placed inside the mind of a person who is mentally ill, but instead of it being treated for horror in the traditional sense, where we're meant to recoil at a person making upsetting choices, we're placed inside their mind, and come to understand why they're doing what they're doing. Still upsetting, yes, but there's empathy.

I felt the same way with The Father. Swallowing increasingly painful and large objects and waiting for them to pass through your system vs. experiencing prolonged dementia may be different setups, but both movies center themselves on empathy. What's terrifying both films is your ability to understand why what's ailing them is so scary, and the final moments of The Father hit as hard as anything I've seen in what we'd traditionally call a "horror movie."