Academy Award winnerŽ Philip Seymour Hoffman and Academy AwardŽ nominee Laura Linney deliver unforgettable performances in this hilarious coming-of-middle age story from OscarŽ -nominated writer / director Tamara Jenkins. ... more »Until recently all John and Wendy Savage (Hoffman Linney) had in common was a lousy childhood and a few strands of DNA. But after years of drifting apart they're forced to band together to care for the elderly cantankerous father who made their formative years "challenging." In the process both of these aimless perpetually adolescent fortysomethings may just at long last have to grow up!System Requirements:Running Time: 113 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA/COMING OF AGE Rating: R UPC: 024543506799 Manufacturer No: 2250679« less
Leah G. (Leahbelle) from GROVER BEACH, CA Reviewed on 10/20/2019...
It was interesting to see Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman as so young, but they were. The acting in this movie is Oscar worthy. I forgot they were actors as they were so believably brother and sister. The story was a surprise and entirely different than what I thought it would be.
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 4/7/2015...
Wow! Reality hurts! I started out not wanting to finish this film because it actually hits "too close to home" for me. But it kinda grew on me and I totally got immersed in the lives of these middle age folks who are jarred into reality by their father's failing health. Never one to be an especially good parent, their father now needs their help and it's difficult for all concerned when they must put him in a nursing home and make arrangements for his future. The old man is bitter and doesn't particularly care if they just dump him along side of the road because he is no longer in control of his own life. The reality of this scenario is that it will happen to most of us eventually so it might be a good idea to be nicer to our loved ones!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Denise W. from DUNSMUIR, CA Reviewed on 2/11/2011...
Though I really like the main actors in this film I was not too impressed by the writing. Kind of a bummer of a film and not too sure what the main thrust of the movie was. Not one of my favorites, but I did watch the whole film.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sari Lynn G. (Sari-Lynn) from SEATTLE, WA Reviewed on 8/16/2010...
Truly stellar performances by everyone in the cast! But be forewarned - although there are some darkly comical moments, this is *not* a comedy. It's a drama, the kind that is familiar in its realness. Laura Linney & Philip Seymour Hoffman are truly believable as a brother & sister, who haven't outgrown their sibling rivalry, but are still there for each other when it counts. And Philip Bosco is perfect as their estranged, curmudgeonly father, whose girlfriend dies, leaving him with nowhere to go. His kids have to deal with finding a place that will take him, a not very pleasant old man with the beginnings of dementia, and their guilt over putting their father in a nursing home, Highly recommended,especially if you want a good film to discuss.
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Frank E. (realartist) from HENDERSONVLLE, NC Reviewed on 8/27/2009...
It gladdens me after plowing through a number of ho hum scripts to come across a good one.
Mind you...it is not the finest literature you have ever experienced...certainly not poetic,imagistic, soaring intellectually. No this is a slice of real life. What will you and i do when our parents health and mind start to fail?...interrupting our busy, busy lives with our young, hip friends, and amoral sleaze bags with who we normally associate, stupidly. Actually, I've had to do this already. it is a sobering, and profoundly moving experience. At the risk of offending ( ignorant ) atheists...it is far more disturbing when a parent dies who has lived no kind of moral life, and has astutely avoided any and all efforts to draw him or her into the fold that will be allowed into Heaven. Funerals involving 'saved' people are always full of both tears, and joy-even laughter and mirth. But a godless fool?...oooh that is a dark, somber and fearful event indeed. I've been to a number of funerals, and they are all the same.Just as the negro spiritual sings in"Oh Brother Where Art Thou"..."You've got to walk down....that lonesome valley. You've got to walk down...all by yourself"...to meet death. Never mind that a small handful of loved ones are there to hold your hand. That means very little when your soul is 'claimed' by the wrong 'side'. ( it is startling and shocking to me to be so virulently attacked by people on review websites when I make these remarks...I fully expect it again. Almost as though people are 'defending the Dark Side"! The "Satan anti defamation league" in a way !
I greatly admire these two actors. There are none better, i vouch safe. A clue, however, is given when at the 'happy rest home' where her father is dying; she is havign a smoke with a Nigerian staff member outside also having a smoke break. When asked what she does...she explains that she works as a 'temp'..but that's not her main lien of work. She tells him she is a "Theater person". And indeed she is. Laura Linney has been on the stage since her parents were- early on. it IS her life. VEry early in the dialogue, she is seen typing a letter to a list of publishers to try once again to publish her "play". She states in her letter that "This is a semiautobiographical work"...and , folks...I do believe it is Laura Linney's very own. If not...it is something she may well have written.
Her co star, playing her 'brother' says in the last lines, that the play was very good...very good'...suggesting to his friend and colleague that she did well with this "play". This play that we get to see unfold on the screen.
It's not great literature. Nonetheless, what an important subject to cover. My wife works every day with dementia folks. We can all do better...and for this reason this film is most important. Think of yourself, descending into "No Useful Mind"...not even remembering how to defecate, or where the bathroom is!! WE MUST do better...for ourselves, if not for the parents who we have blamed for all of our human failures....for ourselves. ( and we can stop blaming our parents. They also had deplorable, wretched excuses for lives, full of failure and shocking disappointments themselves...interrupted by war, and infidelity...just like our own lives- our own lives characterized by no moral compass or any ethical orientation in particular. Something like what was a running joke on the show "Seinfeld'...endless serial monogamy...with "No consequences"...ha...there are consequences; and we all know it. All we have to do is watch ONE episode of Maury Povich to see that clearly. ( bless Maury Povich for showing us true reality TV. I recommend it. I do give it five stars.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
A cut above the rest
e. verrillo | williamsburg, ma | 08/03/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The dysfunctional family is a theme which has been so overdone in American film that I can't blame you if the prospect of watching yet another screwy family on screen elicits a groan. But The Savages stands a cut above the rest, not just for the performances (which were wonderful), or the writing (which was flawless), but because at long last the reason for the dysfunctionality makes sense. (It's not just the fact that we're junk-food-eating Americans who watch too much TV.)
The plot of the movie is deceptively simple. Two siblings, Wendy and Jon Savage, are suddenly faced with the responsibility of caring for their demented father, Lenny. Neither sibling has been what you would call a success in life. Wendy, who works as a temp in New York City, is stuck in a tire-spinning relationship with a married man. Jon, a theater professor in Buffalo who is perpetually on the verge of writing his definitive work on Berthold Brecht, can't seem to keep a relationship going either. And Lenny, apparently, has not done anything approaching a good job as a father. Normally, the interactions of three people who haven't got much going for them wouldn't make a good movie. In this case, however, it worked.
The reason it worked is that the interactions were entirely realistic. Wendy's neurotic quest to find some indication that her father has actually cared about his children is entirely plausible. (It is only in movies that daughters dramatically lash back at cold fathers. Mostly they seek approval.) Jon's rejection of Wendy's efforts is equally as plausible, although you don't find out why until the end of the film. As with Wendy, Jon provokes no confrontation with his father. There is no cathartic moment of resolution--just quiet resignation. The fact that nothing is overdramatized is what makes the film so believable.
Even if the topic does not appeal to you, The Savages is worth watching just for Philip Seymour Hoffman, who, as always, gives a masterful performance. Hoffman's ability to convey subtle emotions--of every variety--is simply unmatched. Laura Linney, as the pill-popping Wendy, gives a fine performance, as does Philip Bosco as the irascible Lenny. The supporting cast was convincing enough to make you think they weren't actors--just real people. And that's precisely what this film was about."