movie film review | chris tookey


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  Savages Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
7.49 /10
Wendy Savage: Laura Linney , Jon Savage: Philip Seymour Hoffman
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Directed by: Tamara Jenkins
Written by: Tamara Jenkins

Released: 2007
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 113

Writer-director Tamara Jenkins has bravely tried to make a dark comedy out of a subject most of us would rather not think about: the moment when one of our parents is becoming senile, and in need of a nursing home.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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As Jon and Wendy Savage, the middle-aged brother and sister faced with this painful problem, Philip Seymour Hoffman (pictured right) and Laura Linney (left) explore every crevice of the situation with consummate skill; and as their self-centred, previously abusive but now ailing father, veteran actor Philip Bosco pulls out all the stops to prevent the piece becoming sentimental.

Ms Jenkins is delightfully accurate but compassionate about these characters’ triangular relationship, which manages to be fragile yet remarkably resilient.

The Oscar-nominated Linney is often very funny as the self-dramatising, neurotic, would-be playwright who mostly works as a temp and is genuinely amazed when someone thinks a play of hers is good: ”You didn’t think it was just self-involved, middle-class whining?”

She’s the child who agonises about abandoning dad to a nursing home - “We’re horrible, horrible, horrible people!” - while brother Hoffman is more of a realist: ”They’re taking better care of the old man than he did of us.”

This is not the cheeriest film to sit through. The plot takes too long to develop, but paradoxically the father’s dementia is resolved with a little too much ease. The even grimmer reality, as I know from personal experience, is that the events compressed here into under two hours can stretch over many years.

But there’s been no better acting ensemble recently, and if Linney deserved her Oscar nomination, then Philip Seymour Hoffman should have had one too. His consistently brilliant, and astonishingly varied, performances over the past twelve months have proved that his win for Capote was no fluke.

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