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Per cubanmiamiboy’s suggestion on another thread, I’m posting on “The Savages.” The film has been out for awhile (it’s no longer running in any theatre in my area, but perhaps Laura Linney’s well deserved Oscar nomination will bring it back).

The subject of the film is family and old age and the title refers to the family’s surname, Savage. Brother and sister Jon and Wendy, two middle-aged cases of arrested development, are reluctantly forced to deal with their elderly father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and the writer-director, Tamara Jenkins, pulls no punches; all the confusion, hostility, and rage that anyone with a first hand acquaintance with an Alzheimer’s sufferer will recognize is there.

Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Philip Bosco play the daughter, son, and father. Hoffman is an actor who blows hot and cold for me, but here he’s on form and terrific. As Helene noted on the “Juno” thread, Linney is a wonderful actress, and here as elsewhere she seems to have no vanity. She’s a beautiful woman unafraid to look plain (it’s my hope one day that Linney will get a role where she’s gorgeous, dolled up to the gills, and surrounded by adoring men) who doesn’t shirk the less appealing aspects of the characters she plays. In more mainstream movies she’s usually cast as an uptight lady lawyer or professional woman (“I don’t even have a cat” she says in “Breach.”). The roles she gets in independent films aren’t necessarily less humiliating but they are not as limited.

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dirac, how does "The Savages" compare with "Away from Her"? That's also about a family coping with Alzheimer's, but I think that the focal point in "Away from Her" is the relationship between lucid husband and ill wife.

Oh, and I know it was a long time ago, but Laura Linney was pretty gorgeous in "The Truman Show".

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I thought ‘The Savages’ was much better than ‘Away From Her,’ much as I wanted to like the latter for the sake of Sarah Polley and Julie Christie. I found the latter to be, well, gooey, with the married couple’s relationship implausibly idealized. One of the things I liked about ‘The Savages’ was that lack of sentiment (which is not the same thing as a lack of feeling, of which there is plenty). The Savages aren’t a happy family whose felicity is disturbed by the fact of illness and impending death, and their tensions and differences aren’t resolved but exacerbated by the difficulty of the situation, unlike so many such dramas where families are ‘brought together’ and/or ‘achieve closure,’ and so on and so forth. I don’t want to imply that the movie is unremittingly grim or that there are no suggestions of a different future -can’t say any more without spoilers- but it’s devoid of Hallmark Channel mush. I appreciated that.

(There is one add-on at the very end of the film that I thought struck a false note, but it's a minor issue.)

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I too think 'The Savages' is a fine film and Laura Linney's performance outstanding. For those of you who like this performance I'd strongly recommend another Linney film, "You Can Count On Me." If you haven't seen it, it's a very worthwhile rental. Linney is the sister in this brother/sister relationship film. It's not formulaic, definitely not a Hallmark film, but honest and very human.

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I'm sorry for my delayed contribution to this thread, dirac, but i haven't been able to touch my laptop in a few days. About The Savages ...wow, what a great family drama, insightful and truthful with the fine works from Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney as the unhappy Savage siblings :) . In this beautifully executed, irreverent work , Tamara Jenkins achieves a hard task: to make us simultaneously laugh and cry. In this film, in what may evolve into a new genre, the coming-of-middle-age story, i think she really captured all the pain and frustrations of this pair of brother-sister, suddenly plucked from their very absorbed lives and forced to care for a parent who never much bothered to care for them, transforming what could make us feel uncomfortable into a brilliant examination of family dynamics. The film is an very credible examination of family bonds which talks about how dealing with the past can help you move forward into the future. Here, Jenkins (who i found out hasn’t made a film since 1998’s “Slums of Beverly Hills”) delivers a subtle comedic drama that never feels false or forced. I think her success can be explained on her ability to unite Hoffman and Linney, two of the finest actors working today. They really made an outstanding creative team that allows for the excellence of this production. Both Philip Bosco (Lenny Savage) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Jon Savage) do a terrific work, but this is really Laura Linney’s (Wendy Savage) movie , who gives us one of her best performances to date. Here, once again, Linney proves to be one of the best actresses in the film industry of today. While her performance in the British romantic comedy Love Actually has been underscored, i think she has proved her caliber as a mature actrees as the headstrong wife to Liam Neeson's 2004 "Kinsey". Another subtle but penetrating role i loved from Linney was the selfish mother and divorcee opposing Jeff Daniels in the 2005 "The Squid and the Whale", a film that i think hasn't been appreciated at its best. But back to "The Savages" , if still undecided, don't be and run to see it today...I see Oscar...

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But back to "The Savages" , if still undecided, don't be and run to see it today...I see Oscar...

Thank you for taking the time to post, cubanmiamiboy. It’s appreciated.

I’d like to see Oscar but don’t. The Savages is a Fox Searchlight picture and from what I can tell the full weight of Fox is behind Juno and Ellen Page. It’s an honor just to be nominated, Laura......

Here, writer-director Tamara Jenkins (who i found out hasn’t made a film since 1998’s “Slums of Beverly Hills”) delivers a subtle comedic drama that never feels false or forced.

I didn't know that. I hope we get to see more from her.

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