The prospect of a drama about an ageing parent with dementia hardly rang celebratory bells for this reviewer. For sure, this is a confronting subject for many of us because it’s so close to home. Mainly however I’m thinking aesthetically.

The Father Imogen Poots, Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins in  The Father

When I first heard about this film I thought immediately of the high bar achieved by Sarah Polley’s 2006 Canadian drama, Away from Her, which pretty much achieved perfection with its Alice Munroe-derived story of a marriage falling apart when the wife (Julie Christie) entered a home due to her increasingly frail mental state.

How could this new UK production, directed and co-written by Frenchman Florian Zeller from his own play, possibly emulate it or find anything new to say?

Here is how. By switching the point of view.

Where Away From Herwas told primarily from the husband’s viewpoint as he struggled with his wife’s condition, The Fatherviews events through the eyes and the addled mind of its dementia-inflicted character. When the fictional Anthony, magisterially played by the real...