Jon and Wendy Savage are two siblings who have spent their adult years trying to recover from the abuse of their abusive father, Lenny Savage. Suddenly, a call comes in that his girlfriend has died, he cannot care for himself with his dementia and her family is dumping him on his children. Despite the fact Jon and Wendy have not spoken to Lenny for twenty years and he is even more loathsome than ever, the Savage siblings feel obliged to take care of him. Now together, brother and sister must come to terms with the new and painful responsibilities with their father now affecting their lives even as they struggle with their own personal demons Lenny helped create. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
At one point in the movie, Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman) says to Wendy (Laura Linney), "We're not in a Sam Shepard play." In 2000 Hoffman co-starred on Broadway in "True West," written by Sam Shepard. See more »
Jon Savage drives his Polish girlfriend to the airport at 6:30 AM, in broad daylight. But in November in Buffalo, it would be pitch dark at this hour (even on November 1, sunrise isn't until 7:46). See more »
'The Savages' is a humble humane look at a part of life. Tamara Jenkins tells a powerful comedic story of two siblings struggle with their estranged, demented and dying father. For me, the characters are easy to relate to as in Wendy, Jon and Lenny, I recognize many people I know. The story does not have much of an eventful plot. It's more a study of characters and relationship and, as I mentioned earlier, a look at part of life.
The portrayal of the brother-sister relationship by Linney and Hoffman is genuine and strong thanks to the real chemistry. I was reminded of another beautiful movie, 'You Can Count On Me' which also focused on sibling relationships (and also starred Laura Linney but in a completely different role) and it was interesting to compare the older brother-younger sister bond with the older sister-younger brother bond. Both Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman are accomplished actors and it is not surprising that they were great and very natural. Philip Bosco too is brilliant as the demented father but we don't see anything of his character beyond that. The father-children is the third angle of the film and this too is authentically portrayed. The children are in a state of ambivalence about their father who was mean and abusive but whom they also want to help. Among the other performances, relative newcomer Gbenga Akinnagbe stands out.
What i liked most about it is the chemistry between the brothers but even the small moments between the main characters and the supporting ones was quite well shown within a limited screen-time, like the moment between Jon and Cara did display their true feelings and the few moments between Jimmy and Wendy show the impact it has on Wendy. Jenkins shows her good understanding of family relations and brings some of her own experience into the film. The struggle of the two siblings to get noticed, to deal with their own problems and that of their family is one many of us can associate with and it is cleverly shown with a touch of comedy in this genuine funny little film. i wanted to watch this movie at a theatre with a friend but she didn't seem too enthusiastic but I'm glad that I finally caught it. I'm looking forward to watching it on DVD again.
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