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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best kind of Indie film: explores complex emotions without gimmick
This is a moving journey into the lives of two very real siblings. Faced with the unexpected responsibility of dealing with a father who barely deserves their meagre emotional resources, they deal with the problem, with each other, and with their lives.

Like many people in real life, there is no simple resolution, no uplifting revelation, no emergence: they...
Published on 3 July 2011 by rob crawford

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Dysfunctional Family Drama
"Savages," (2007), a comedy/drama from the first-time writer/director Tamara Jenkins, comes to us as another examination of a contemporary dysfunctional family.

It stars the outstanding actress, daughter of American theatre nobility, Laura Linney, (The Big C - Season 1 ), who was deservedly nominated for an Oscar in her role here as the annoying Wendy Savage...
Published 18 months ago by Stephanie De Pue


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best kind of Indie film: explores complex emotions without gimmick, 3 July 2011
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is a moving journey into the lives of two very real siblings. Faced with the unexpected responsibility of dealing with a father who barely deserves their meagre emotional resources, they deal with the problem, with each other, and with their lives.

Like many people in real life, there is no simple resolution, no uplifting revelation, no emergence: they just move on to the next struggle, with some hope. It is that that makes this a first rate film, that it can be believed and experienced - and it certainly reflects what most of us know at one time or another.

Hoffman and Linney are absolutely wonderful. Their relationship is difficult and you can feel the tension that continues, even though the details are only alluded to rather than spelled out. You simply feel for them, you don't judge them or laugh at them. It is realism at its very very best. Individually, their lives are also not easy, but to say they are losers or crippled like some reviewers have here is an over-statement: like many of us, they are wounded and doing the best they can.

Then there is the father, whose behavior and sins are only to be guessed. He is a shell of a man, sometimes lucid, sometimes slipping into the kind of evil you suspect he perpetrated. Yet they still feel some love and caring for him and take their responsibilities seriously. It is a painful spectacle, but very real.

Recommended. This is a splendid journey into areas rarely covered by film, without frills or silly plot twists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Dysfunctional Family Drama, 26 Feb 2013
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
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"Savages," (2007), a comedy/drama from the first-time writer/director Tamara Jenkins, comes to us as another examination of a contemporary dysfunctional family.

It stars the outstanding actress, daughter of American theatre nobility, Laura Linney, (The Big C - Season 1 ), who was deservedly nominated for an Oscar in her role here as the annoying Wendy Savage. Multi-award winning Philip Seymour Hoffman, (Capote ), is her underachieving brother Jon. Philip Bosco, (The Money Pit [DVD],My Best Friend's Wedding ), costars as their aging, going into dementia dad Lenny, who abused them when he had the chance. Life hasn't treated this brother and sister as they would wish - they're a long way from achieving their dreams - and suddenly they find they must put their preoccupations aside to look after their father. The acting, individual and ensemble, is excellent: first timer Jenkins has done very well with her well-known cast. Even supporting parts are crisply written.

The settings, sun washed Sun City Arizona, and dreary snow-muted winter Buffalo, New York, which can be a pretty city when not buried in snow, are very well-done. Unfortunately, in the last ten minutes of the film, the writer/director finds it necessary to come up with a happy Hollywood ending for virtually all her characters, even the nonhuman ones, vitiating any sting the movie might have had.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite of 2008, 13 Jan 2009
By 
Balraj Gill (Slough, Berkshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Savages [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Before I go on, let me make perfectly clear that The Savages is not going to be a film that is for everyone's taste. It's a low key affair, featuring characters who are not prime inspirational material.

But from my point of view, it was very hard to find fault with The Savages. For me, this film was pitch perfect and perfectly sublime in its mix of humour, sadness and sense of futility. This film will find fans in those people who prefer watching films of a more intimate and character-based nature.

And what great character performances there are from Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who are both fantastic and Tamara Jenkins has written and directed in a manner that lets these two talents shine wonderfully, even though they are both playing emotionally repressed characters whose lives are in danger of stalling in a middle-aged mire.

As I said before, there is a great mix of humour and sadness in this film, the best example of which is when Laura Linney is having an argument with her older married lover in a Niagra Falls motel room about the definition of a younger woman and whether or not she would qualify as one. Whilst this scene is wickedly funny, at the same time, it highlights the sadness that Linney's character feels at this juncture in her life.

You may get the impression of The Savages being the best Mike Leigh film that Leigh hasn't made, but that would perhaps be too simplistic. Whilst you can draw comparisions with Leigh's films, The Savages is sufficently infused with a particular brand of humour and downbeat sensibility to be a film that has simply been transplanted from suburban London to upstate New York.

The Savages was my personal favourite film of 2008 and I hope it finds a wide and receptive audience on DVD for many years to come.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chance to look life in the face, 10 Aug 2008
By 
This review is from: The Savages [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
The Savages is the story of two adult children grappling with the care of their father as he faces the final phase of his life after his second wife dies, leaving him homeless and suffering from dementia.

This eventually inescapable but normally avoided subject is treated with honesty, intelligence and mild humour by writer and director Tamara Jenkins who apparantly draws from her own experience.

Having been very close to an elderly relative who suffered dementia and involved in the guilt ridden, heart-wrenching decisions that go with taking control of another person's life - many of the scenarios, characters and settings were deeply familiar to me. However I was even able to chuckle and see the funny side to a lot of the plot and although it brough up feelings and memories it was a chance to validate and re-evaluate. More saddening to me than the decline of the elderly father was the unfulfilling lives being led by the early middle aged children, who had so much life left to live.

The subject may be a bit close to the bone for anyone with an infirm or elderly parent but for me it was a chance to look it in the face and smile at the lighter side of the inescapable.

And if you like this - you must watch Away From Her.
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5.0 out of 5 stars sad but unfortunately realistic, 7 Jun 2014
By 
F. Panin "FabioStar" (Holland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Savages [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
this is life, at least a part of it. We have parents that grow older. We have our busy lives in the meantime. Parents get sick, they cannot take care of themselves anymore, while our lives go on. What to do with our parents? What to do when they even do not recognize we are their sons and daughters?
This is the story of this movie, anyone who went through similar situation will sympathize with the acting and words of the main actors here. This is not a typical US movie, I would rather call it "European": acting is minimalistic, the insight is maximum - as typical of Sundance production.
Highly recommended, but do not expect to have a fun viewing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The savages ., 30 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Savages [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I bought this after hearing about the death of the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman .To me he was the character he played , not just an actor playing his part ,as were all of his performances . A beautifully acted movie ,a very sad story ,beautifully handled . If you only buy this one movie as a tribute to a brilliant actor , make it this one.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, 14 Aug 2008
By 
Bluebell (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Savages [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
The title might give the wrong impression as to the theme of the film as 'Savages' is the surname of the three main characters. The sad decline of an elderly parent into dementia is an unusual topic for a Hollywood studio to tackle, but one that will have resonance for many of us who have, or have had, elderly parents becoming more and more dependent and requiring institutional care. It's a thought-provoking film with excellent and moving performances.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Savages, 24 Mar 2008
By 
C. MacLellan (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Savages [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
In Sun City, Arizona, Lenny (Phillip Bosco) and Doris are happy living their lives out and keeping each other company in their twilight years. That is until Doris dies whilst out getting her nails done, and her family decide to put boyfriend Lenny's years of sponging off her at an end. As a result, it falls to Lenny's estranged son Jon (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and daughter Wendy (Laura Linney) to arrange his care. After years of drifting apart, both emotionally and geographically, they must band together to care for a man who was never there for them, but who is slowly sinking into senility.

Having witnessed both her grandmother and father slip away for her after suffering from dementia, writer/director Tamara Jenkins has used her experience to create a script which, despite dealing with a difficult issue, is humane and filled with dry humour and wit. It's also a film of it's time, as in the developed world has an ageing population, and is being forced to address the issue on how we care for love ones in their old age.

The film opens in a pristine, cutesy retirement village, with Peggy Lee's `I Don't Want To Play In Your Backyard' playing as we are shown American retirement at it's best. She then transports us into Lenny's house, where we see any old man being chastised by his carer for not flushing, and then proceeding to write a rude word on the bathroom wall with said unflushed item. And this is the beauty of this film. Jenkins manages to bring the audience's expectations crashing down around them, by going from serious to comedic and then back again in mere frames. It's this juxtaposition between the light and dark which keeps the audience engaged in the film. The pairing of the two locations - the exotic retirement home village in Sun City, Arizona and frost bitten Valley View care home in Buffalo, New York - help to portray the bleak light in which people view old age.

At the heart of the story lies the relationship between Jon and Wendy, whose lives are an emotional minefield. Jon is an insular theatre professor, who is scared of commitment and lives in grey suburbs of Buffalo, attempting to complete his gift to the world - a book on Brecht (check Wikipedia). Wendy, a temp-cum-unsuccessful New York playwright, has a romantic life which goes no further than a bit of fun with her married neighbour. They also have different views on what to do with their father: Jon wants to go for the realistic fix, whilst Wendy wants to check her father into an upscale home which they can ill afford. Watching the reconnection between these two souls is probably the most touching part of the film, especially the scene featuring the tuna melt and a neck sling. The Linney and Hoffman pairing pull these two characters off perfectly, and this is hopefully a partnership which we will see working together again in future films.

The performance given by Phillip Bosco is also an interesting insight into the slide into dementia. Usually, these people are portrayed as spectators to events which are going on around them - mere shadows in their own lives. However, in The Savages, we see a dementia suffer who hasn't been fully taken by the disease, and who does still have some of his faculties about him. This can make it all the more difficult to watch, as questions arise as to whether Lenny's silence is due to confusion or sadness.

The ending is slightly schmaltzy, but with fantastic performances from the three lead actors, and a script which is sharp and amusing, this is probably the best family comedy-drama since Little Miss Sunshine.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting and real to life,, 1 Jan 2010
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This review is from: The Savages [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
this is a great film and interesting to see what family dynamics can go through. Both characters have their certain dysfuntions and innapropriate behaviours. They have different personalities that support one another. I like this film because it was not the usual hyped up action and the acting was effortless and so real. It is one of those films where you can just sit back and the worries of the world will disolve whilst being immersed. I would say this appeals more to the 30plus age group. Comforting to those who are happy being single. Laura Linney and Paul Seymour Hoffman play a brillian role. Highly recommended film, one to watch again a few months later.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DVD Quality... of course!, 30 Mar 2009
By 
W. Ramackers (NL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Savages [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
No comment on the movie. But it is a DVD listed as a Blu Ray....
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The Savages [DVD] [2007]
The Savages [DVD] [2007] by Tamara Jenkins (DVD - 2008)
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