January 28, 2008

Savages, savages

The Savages is a sad, funny and unsentimental look at family dynamics. What happens when the children become the parent's caregiver? Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney play siblings forced to deal with their estranged father's declining health. Philip Bosco is their cantankerous and abusive father, Leonard Savage. Wendy is an aspiring playwright, a lying, pill-popping adulterer. Jon is a college theater (of social unrest---!) professor writing a book on Brecht. His girlfriend has to go back to Poland when her visa expires because he refuses to marry her.
The interaction between brother- sister/children-father is fascinating and painful to watch because the characters are so human. And the issues they are forced to deal with are real. The extremely well-written story hits close to home. No sappy deathbed scenes or emotional reconciliations here though. But the ending is most satisfactory. Excellent performances all around. Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman can do no wrong.

The only downside is the title brings up memories of a song from Pocahontas :(

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