The Savages

2008-05-06 17:44
What it's about:

Two grown up siblings (Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman) must take care of their senile father (Philip Bosco) when his partner dies and he is left without a home. Both of them are alienated from their father and resent him for their upbringing, giving them mixed feelings when his life is placed in their hands. As they take him into their lives, they face an array of challenges and situations they never thought possible.

What we thought of it:

The Savages is a family drama in the truest sense of the term. Forget about the feel good yuks or teary melodrama, because this is about as real as it gets. Having to deal with a parent or loved one who suffers from dementia is no walk in the park, and it offers little reward except having to cope when they pass away. For anyone who has experienced this, The Savages is brutally true to life.

The acting is absolutely superb, and the characters are rich and complex. Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman are both excellent as sad, dysfunctional adults who have never come to terms with their neglect-filled upbringing, but are now in control of every aspect of their father's life. Their approaches are different – Jon is pragmatic, yet downtrodden, and Wendy spends half her time living in her own head. As problematic as their relationship with their father was, they have as much difficulty relating to each other as to strangers.

Philip Bosco deserves special mention as the senile Lenny. His mannerisms and expressions will be familiar to anyone who has known someone suffering from senile dementia, and his character is frighteningly authentic.

The Savages can be a difficult film to watch, and even harder to enjoy, given the slow pace and often depressing subject matter. It's hard to imagine that many people will want to spend two hours in an emotional mincer, especially when the feel-good moments are few and far between. As well acted and realistic as it is, The Savages is a punishing exercise in coming to terms with the pointlessness of life.

- Ivan Sadler
A senile father loses his home, and his estranged grown up kids are forced to look after the father they'd rather not see.

postit 2008/03/10 9:47 AM
pointlessness of life? care to express why you think that?
sadas 2008/03/11 4:47 AM
dasdas sadsa
Logan 2008/03/11 4:17 PM
Pointlessness? Hey postit, good one, maybe he should have rather said 'coming to terms with pointlessness of some chapters of life', although maybe its just senile dementia that's pointless. I wonder how other cultures have dealt with their aged when this happens? Bet you not many old age homes.
Ivan 2008/03/12 2:08 PM
pointless Go and watch the movie and you will find out about the pointlessness of being a senile, incapable, unloved old man who has nothing better to do than to wait around to die. It's not a debate about our society's attitude to the aged - it's a story about a sad and dysfunctional family.
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