The Savages – 4/5 Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Savages – 4/5 – Deep character movies tend to take more than just an initial first watch.  Character movies are ones, after a first watch, causes you to think otherwise and feel out the themes that were played out.  The deeper means to a movie are always developed through great acting and a solemn tone from simplistic direction.  For this movie, a lot of the motive stems from family issues, incompetence towards intimacy, and the ultimate understand of each person inside.  Maybe some of these tones are cliché, but when you’re attracted to the story and are fully involved from beginning to end, it turns out to be a marvelous achievement.

Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Wendy (Laura Linney) Savage are two siblings who have spent their adult years trying to recover from the abuse of their abusive father, Lenny Savage (Philip Bosco). Suddenly, a call comes in that his girlfriend has died and he cannot care for himself with his dementia. Despite the fact that Jon and Wendy have not spoken to their father for twenty years, the Savage siblings feel obliged to take care of him. Now together, brother and sister must come to terms with this new and painful responsibility affecting their lives, even as they struggle with their own personal demons.  The two stand-outs here, as the main focus of the movie is, are the siblings.  Played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney respectfully, they provide true wit and charm as brother and sister.  Their chemistry is top notch and is truly heartfelt, as you want them to break out of this ‘shell’ and come ‘alive’.  As the movie goes along, you watch as both their lives are affect by their childhood past, as they both cannot find true love in their relationships with others (Jon with a girlfriend and Wendy whose sleeping with a married man).  When the father comes into the picture, this turmoil of situations collide, and you watch true acting at its finest.  You feel the raw nature in their sibling rivalry, as well as emotional overtones of sadness, rage and forgiveness along the story of taking care of their dementia elder of a father.  You feel their pain, but want them to become a true person from this experience.   By the end, they find that a past hinder by abuse can build character, but truly it is up to them to make that step forward.

The direction of this movie is flawless.  There isn’t a focus on real plot development, but everything is guided through dramatic tones parallel witty dialogue between the siblings, father and other side characters like the nurses in the nursing home and the estrange man Wendy is having an affair with.  You feel a part of this journey, because it is brought to a level that mimics real life.  A subtle line is taken from start to finish, and most the direction is heavily relied upon character performance and themes of humility and grace.  The climax spurs all the wits and drama that have been built into one pot, and helps you understand the simple direction of the film.

Overall, this movie does much for building a character, as it is does for a reflection of childhood memories scarred and forbearing in adulthood.  The performances by Hoffman and Linney help build a mirror into how these situations can affect an adult, but also how it helps to face with the past head-on by an aging father.   Simple direction, deep characters, and strong themes; I’d recommend this for film enthusiast of character styled movies.

2 Responses to “The Savages – 4/5 Movie Reviews by Ry!

  • Thanks for this post. I don’t know a large number of links to forums but my friends seem to be able to spend a lot of time on them that’s for sure.

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