fbpx

THE SAVAGES

Director: TAMARA JENKINS

U.S.A. • 2007 • COLOUR • DOLBY/DTS DIGITAL STEREO • 113 MIN


PERENNIAL INDIE FAVOURITES LAURA LINNEY AND PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN LEAVEN WRITER-DIRECTOR TAMARA JENKINS’ POTENTIALLY DOWNBEAT FAMILY DRAMA WITH DRY, OFFBEAT HUMOUR.
When they learn that their estranged father Lenny (Philip Bosco) is slipping into dementia, his middle-aged son and daughter, Jon (Hoffman) and Wendy (Linney), move him from a sun-parched retirement community in Arizona to a modest care home in snowbound Buffalo. Clerical temp and would-be playwright Wendy moves from New York into her brother’s shambolic apartment, but is overwhelmed by the practicalities and emotional upheaval. College professor Jon somehow manages to get things done, although he is distracted by an impending book deadline and the imminent departure of his Polish girlfriend, whose visa is about to expire. Shocked out of their cosy but stifling comfort zones, they must care for a father who never cared for them, while dealing with their festering sibling rivalries. Jon patronises the dreamy and emotionally fragile Wendy, mocking her playwriting aspirations; she in turn resents Jon’s academic success and neurotic, bottled-up emotions. A long-overdue follow-up to Tamara Jenkins’ quirky 1988 debut movie, Slums of Beverly Hills, this warm but unflinching study of a dysfunctional family eschews mawkish ‘life lessons’ in favour of shrewdly observed realities. Without soft-pedalling, Jenkins also offers tiny glimmers of hope. Wendy’s friendship with a Nigerian nurse, Jimmy (Gbenga Akinnagbe), does wonders for her low self-esteem, while Jon admits that he weeps whenever his girlfriend makes him toast. In a subtly directed, performance-dominated film, Linney, Hoffman and theatre veteran Bosco make the most of every word, expression and gesture.—Nigel Floyd.

Book Tickets

}