Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Savages

The Savages was billed as a black comedy, but I'd describe it more as a low-key drama with humour. The Savages of the title are a brother and sister (Wendy and Jon, played by Laura Linney and Philip Seymour-Hoffman) and their elderly father (Lenny) - a small but not close-knit family who are forced into reunion by the death of their Father's companion. As Lenny is suffering from dementia, he needs full-time care and its up to Wendy and Jon to organise it and the film tells the story of this process.

This may not sound that scintillating but its well done and not at all sentimental. The focus is probably more on the relationship between the siblings than on their relationship with their father - probably because the latter was neither warm nor close. And neither was the former, at least until their father needed help. Wendy and Jon are dysfunctional enough to make them easy to watch and not too hard to identify or sympathise with. What will become of our parents is a pretty universal potential problem and The Savages lets us think about that while suggesting that it could be a positive experience. The actors do a great job - I thought Laura Linney did neurotic rather too well for comfortable viewing in Jindabyne and Love Actually but she struck the right note of understandable human frailty here.

Anne's rating 3.5/5, Ian's rating 2.5/5

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