Nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Actress for Laura Linney and Best Original Screenplay for writer/director Tamara Jenkins, THE SAVAGES centers on two siblings who are reluctantly forced to look back at their difficult family history. Having wriggled their way beneath their fatherâ€™s domineering thumb, they are firmly cocooned in their own complicated lives â€“ Wendy (Linney) a struggling playwright; Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman) a neurotic college professor. When their father (Philip Bosco) begins to be consumed by dementia, they are forced to live together under one roof for the first time since childhood. Faced with complete upheaval and battling over how to handle their fatherâ€™s final days, they are confronted with what adulthood, family and most surprisingly, each other are really about.
“Maybe dad didn’t abandon us. Maybe he just forgot who we were.”
“It takes a cut to the chase, glass of water in the face movie such as The Savages, to give you a harsh dose of reality on how rough the end could really be.”
This blunt tale drives you straight to the dotted line, dealing with adjusting to middle age, deteriorating mental status, and the thought of adjusting to losing a parent. First in director Tamara Jenkins resume reveals she’s ready for the big time, she gives people a harsh dose of the soon to come reality of dealing with old age, when it’s one of your own. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney play brother and sister who get plucked out of there somewhat stagnant lives, when trouble with their father calls the family together. The father is developing dementia, and it’s his kids’ job to place him in a retirement community. This type of film isn’t intended for a younger audience, just due to the material at hand. Anyone 25 years or older can appreciate either dealing with the topic, or knowing that it may one day be a cold hard fact. All three of the actors did a terrific job portraying each member of the family. Somehow, after the emotional roller coaster you endure throughout the movie, The Savages pulls it out in the last two minutes to somehow put a large smile on your face. It’s not a must see, but if you want to see it, and are prepared, you’ll be pleased when you reach the finale.
Review by Charlie Giltenboth