The Savages

This year (2007-2008) has been both bad and good for film for me. Between training for my first marathon and getting a puppy in mid-2007, there has been less time to see movies. But on the positive side, when you don’t see very many, you don’t waste your time on bad ones.

When you cut down your movie time, you also cut down your movie reviewing time, which is why I’m months late writing anything about this one. So I’ll keep this short in an effort to start catching up.

The Savages is a small very well written and acted film about two grown siblings (Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman) and their father (Philip Bosco), who can no longer take care of himself. The film opens with a very funny sequence of shots of elaborately pruned plants and landscaped yards in Sun City Arizona, where Lenny Savage (Bosco) has been living. Wendy (Linney) and Jon (Hoffman) both play theater-oriented writers, so language plays a significant role in their lives, which is part of why I liked the film.

I won’t say too much more other than to note that I found the ending a bit too tidy, but otherwise I found it excellent. I would give it about 3.5 stars out of 4 stars.

I saw it at the Camera Cinema Club on 11/18/2007. We heard some pre-recorded comments from Laura Linney, which included these items:

  • The siblings are both evolved intellectually, but emotionally they are 11 years old
  • She and Hoffman are both of similar age and are both from NY theater
  • It was shot in 30 days, with much of that time in nursing homes and hospitals
  • She thinks that it would be good if we (society) were less afraid of the elderly
  • She thinks the film is funny

We also heard some additional background and comments on the film from the Club director:

  • This is director Tamara Jenkins‘s second film (the first being Slums of Beverly Hills)
  • She’s a 46 year old goth Jewish woman
  • It’s a good brother/sister movie, like You Can Count on Me
  • It’s also a middle aged coming of age film
  • The film is not autobiographical, but the scene on the plane was
  • Most characters in the film are complex, and not all good or bad
  • It’s easy to overlook Philip Bosco’s performance, but he is very good

I would definitely recommend this film if it sounds at all like something you might like.

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