The Savages

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  • Comedy, Drama , produced in 2007 USA
  • Actors: Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Directed by: Tamara Jenkins
  • Rating: 8.20 out of 10 (321 votes)
  • Plot Summary: Director Tamara Jenkins made audiences sit for nearly a decade for her follow-up to the hilarious dark comedy SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS, but it's been worth the wait. Like her previous film, THE SAVAGES is a sometimes-funny, sometimes-sad look at family dynamics, but this time around the sense of humor is more wry than riotous. Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman play Wendy and Jon Savage, a pair of siblings on the cusp of middle age. She's earning money in New York City as a temp as she writes an autobiographical play about their childhood, while he lives in Buffalo, teaching college and finishing a book on Bertolt Brecht. Their estranged father (Philip Bosco) lives across the country, but the Savages reluctantly rush to see him when they learn that he may not be able to take care of himself any longer. Jon and Wendy bicker over problems old and new as they try to figure out what's best for a man they barely know.

    Like Noah Baumbach in THE SQUID AND THE WHALE and MARGOT AT THE WEDDING, writer-director Jenkins knows how to mine family dysfunction for both comedy and drama. Jon and Wendy tear into each other as only people connected by blood can, but their fighting feels entirely genuine, largely thanks to the performances of Linney and Hoffman. Though they'll get most of the buzz for their roles, character actor Bosco is heartbreaking as their aging father. Though his decline is difficult to watch, the actor's performance is absolutely mesmerizing.
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