Towards the end of the 2020 film The Father, Anthony Hopkins' protagonist, who is suffering from dementia complains "I feel as if I am losing all my leaves". My take is that it is a reference to him losing his memories or the reliability of his memories.

Yet the film ends with a scene that shows trees full of green leaves. What's the point of this last scene?

2 Answers 2


As explained by Florian Zeller, the French director and co-writer of the film:

“It's a line that means nothing. ‘I'm losing all my leaves', and at the same time, you understand exactly what it means,” he explains. “And in a way, it was the sum of what I wanted the audience to experience through that film, meaning that you are not understanding what is going on, and at the same time, on another level, emotionally, you understand everything.

“It was the whole journey I wanted the audience to go through in this labyrinth. Trying to understand with your brain, understanding that you're not capable of understanding everything. To let it go. To understand everything with your heart.”


There's a few ways to look at the leaves.

  • In this scene he regresses rapidly. Losing his identity ("who am I?"), then crying for his mother (someone we build an attachment to before our identity), then referring to "leaves" implies he cannot even retain language beyond what's immediately outside his window. The lingering shot on the leaves drives the point that though we might have been drawn into the scene as him coming to terms with dementia through metaphor, in reality he's just being stripped of all the identity that would be too proud to cry in front of a stranger - until all that's left is looking out the window.

  • Since much of the film is from his perspective, a long focus on trees gives a taste of what it's like to be at this level of consciousness - no characters, plot or action. It feels evil to say it but maybe it's better this way: "you'll feel all right in a minute I promise you"

  • the only nice thing people offer him throughout the film (besides chicken) is a walk in the park. In a sense these leaves are his final reward.

  • He references having a watch on his left wrist "for the journey" but it's not there. The nurse takes his hand because she's going to help him on the journey instead - compassion in lieu of memories. The shining park window in the background could represent the afterlife in this sense.

  • Anthony may be experiencing a life review where he is granted total clarity of thought and memory the moment before death - the return of all his leaves before the cut to black.

  • 1
    I think the concept you're describing in your final bullet point is terminal lucidity, not a life review.
    – F1Krazy
    Aug 10, 2022 at 9:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .