Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Savages: Movie Review

The Savages: Movie Review

Rating 7/10
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney, Philip Bosco
Director: Tamara Jenkins

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney star as Jon and Wendy Savage in a film about the difficulties of a relative sick with dementia and with nowhere else to go.
As the film starts, we see the father figure Lenny (Philip Bosco) eating cereal being harassed by a helper for his de-facto wife because he didn't flush the toilet.
Lenny's dispatched to deal with the problem, but the situation quickly escalates and the care worker's manager contacts the family.
Things get worse when his de facto wife dies while having her nails done, and pretty soon, Jon and Wendy are summoned to Arizona to take Lenny away.
But the pair have not seen their father for years because of a none too happy childhood, and as the reality of having to put him into a home sinks in, both find different ways to cope - Wendy worries they've made the right choice, whereas Jon initially is just happy to have Lenny out of the way.
Both Jon and Wendy are writers - he of philosophy and she of plays - but there's a simmering rivalry - Jon checks up on his sister's claim she won funding from the Guggenheim foundation.
However, despite the rivalry, there is a closeness between the pair; albeit a strained bond from time to time.
Wendy has other concerns - she's seeing a married man, snatching encounters wherever she can - but as she spends more time for her father (and despite his abusive past to the children), she realises she wants more out of life.
The Savages is not an action packed film; it's a gentle portrait of the effects a sick relative has on your life and how it changes your priorities.

Both leads are stunning in this - their quirks and characters are underplayed to make them feel more real; there is a dark undercurrent to the film at times and a few comic moments but anyone with a sick elderly relative nearing the end of their natural life (or has experienced it) will associate with this film.

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