Friday, December 9, 2011


Movie Review : The Savages
Director : Tamara Jenkins
Genre : Drama
Starring : Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco
Released : 2007
My Rating : 7 out of 10

Tamara Jenkins' first major movie is about a brother and sister forced to take care of their dying father. It's not a comedy, although labeled as such. In fact, it can be quite uncomfortable to watch at times.

There is no plot as such. Lenny Savage (Philip Bosco) is suffering from dementia. We learn from references that he wasn't that great of a father, as a result Wendy (Laura Liney) and Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman) share no love for him. But they are forced by the circumstances to share the burden. This provides the backdrop for the real story where, they have to confront their own shortcomings and get their life in order.

This is not all that funny. And although the tone can be a bit light-hearted, the handling is quite serious. It's a dysfunctional family.  The brother and sister have major personality traits to overcome, which they have acquired definitely because of their father's neglect. There is risk that a viewer can get completely indifferent to such characters. It's the credit of actors and the director that make you feel sympathetic to them.

I can watch any movie for Laura Linney, an uncommon combination of beauty and ability to play complex characters. Hoffman rarely disappoints. And they together share 90% of the screen time. Philip Bosco supports them well portraying an old demented man.

Only if you like to watch different but well made movies strongly based on characterizations, I can recommend this. It has limited appeal otherwise. Definitely not safe for kids.

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