Posts Tagged ‘The Savages’

“The Savages”

December 7, 2007

The Savahes

The film The Savages is smart enough to live in the present, but finds clever ways to give us clues about the characters’ pasts, which is very important, so pay attention. It’s the story about a sister, Wendy, and brother, Jon Savage (Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman) who suddenly have their aging father Lenny Savage (Philip Bosco) thrust into their lives when he comes down with a case of dementia and his girlfriend dies. It turns out that neither child even knows where he lives. While the film unfolds in the present the character’s are certainly affected by their pasts and all three give performances that radiate emotional history, a plethora of emotional history. These are probably three of the most well crafted and effective performances I’ve seen this year.

The film making is exceptional as well. For awhile the writer/director Tamara Jenkins finds ways to merge the environment with the performances. Wendy stares at her father’s x-rays absently as the hum of the x-ray machine drowns out the sounds around her. Or as Wendy slowly wakes up Lenny’s voice gradually increases in volume. These are subtle tricks but really ground you into the reality of the film, it’s unfortunate that she stops using these storytelling devices about half way through. Thankfully the writing and direction is strong enough that’s its not a necessity.

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