Monday, August 1, 2011

The Savages (2007)

Well-Made, Well-Acted And Moving

- Meet the Savages: Wendy (Laura Linney), John (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and Lenny (Philip Bosco). Wendy and John are siblings, though they rarely see each other, and Lenny is their father, abusive in their childhood and now dying with dementia in his adult years. Because of Lenny's deteriorating state and all the complications that arise from that, Wendy and John are forced to personally attend to the needs of their dying father. This does not come at a good time since they already had problems of their own. John has been trying to get his career to take off with a book and has issues with his girlfriend. Wendy is dealing with work shortages, an affair with a married man, trying to get her own play off the ground, and now her father is dying - something that she cannot get fully realistic about.

The Savages (2007) is just a well-made film. Tamara Jenkins both wrote and directed the film, and organizes and executes it with great precision with her spot-on direction and great script that is both funny and heartbreaking. Stephen Trask also writes a good score for the film that is both uplifting and meditative and cinematographer W. Mott Hupfel lights the film well.

The cast are all great in their roles. Laura Linney is at the top of game in this Oscar-nominated performance as Wendy, exerting plenty of emotion throughout the film. Philip Seymour Hoffman is also fantastic as John. Hoffman's performance is more subtle and soft than the others in the film, and he is very funny as well, much of the comedy coming from the expressions on his face. Linney and Hoffman work very well on screen together, and it is interesting to see how their characters handle taking care of a deadbeat father that hardly took care of them as children and how they interact with each other as the film progresses. Philip Bosco finishes off the major members of the cast with an outstanding performance as Lenny Savage, Wendy & John's dementia-plagued father. Watching Bosco play this elderly man who is drifting farther and farther away from the here and now is something to see.

The Savages is a good and moving film that deals with something most have to go through: taking care of our parents when they cannot take care of themselves. Whether you are currently going through this experience, have already gone through this experience, or will be going through this experience, The Savages is a very real and moving film.

CBC Rating: 8/10

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