Review by gloria wong.
Jon and Wendy Savage are middle-aged siblings who have drifted from their elderly father Lenny. Jon is a professor of literature and Wendy temps while trying to win grants to support her play-writing (it's not going well). One day, they hear second-hand that their father has started smearing words on the walls of his home in his own shit. They fly from New York to Arizona and learn that their father has recently entered dementia - he also has no where to live. Though they fight, they quickly decide that the only pratical decision is to place their father in a nursing home closer to their New York homes... Believe it or not, The Savages is a very, very funny movie.
For such a common situation, something that so many of us have to face at some point, I can't say that I've seen many depictions of this subject on film. And (almost unfortunately) it hits the topic so precisely, people might continue to steer clear of it for a while for fear of comparisons. Made by Tamara Jenkins (who also wrote and directed the not quite as excellent but still very good Slums of Beverly Hills), The Savages earns its laughs through sharply-observed humour that cuts more directly to the tragedy of this situation than ten Terms of Endearments ever could. Jenkins builds the story with moments that are simulataneously funny and uncomfortable in their honesty. The always enjoyable Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the perfect mix of obnoxious and caring. And Laura Linney creates another believably flawed, anxious but earthy character (flawed but decent being one of the things she does better than anyone). Both wonderfully cast, as is Phillip Bosco as the eldest Savage. One of the most rewarding American films I've since in years.
Tamara Jenkins | USA | 2006 | 113min
Sat. Sept. 29 | 9:30pm | Empire Granville Theatre
Sun. Sept. 30 | 1:00pm | Empire Granville Theatre