The Savages (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner29/10/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 114 mins

Emotionally engaging, sharply written and superbly directed drama with terrific performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Tamara Jenkins (Slums of Beverly Hills), The Savages stars Laura Linney as Wendy Savage, an aspiring East Village playwright who's having an affair with a married man (Peter Friedman) and working a series of menial jobs while applying, unsuccessfully, for a series of arts grants. She's never been especially close to her brother, literature professor Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman), but when their ailing, estranged father, Lenny (Philip Bosco) needs to be put into a nursing home, the Savages find themselves forced to live under the same roof and gradually rediscover their family ties.

The Good
Laura Linney is terrific as Wendy, creating a complex, awkward character who manages to retain the audience’s sympathy despite behaving in frequently appalling ways. Hoffman is equally good as Jon and the two actors spark off each other in genuinely interesting ways, while there's strong support from both Philip Bosco and Peter Friedman.

Jenkins' script is excellent, perfectly capturing both the complex nature of difficult family relationships and the importance of basic human contact. The writing is also commendably subtle in places, leaving the audience to draw their own conclusions about the knock-on effect of their father's terrible parenting (e.g. Wendy's self-destructive affair and Jon's refusal to marry his Polish girlfriend).

The Great
In addition, the film smartly avoids the usual button-pushing cliches, particularly in regard to their relationship with Lenny. There's also a lot of spiky humour in the film, which provides some welcome relief, given the fairly gloomy subject matter.

Worth seeing?
In short, The Savages is a sharply observed, brilliantly written and ultimately extremely moving film with terrific performances from two of Hollywood's finest actors. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

The Savages (15)
The Savages has been reviewed by 1 users
image
01 Love Me Till Monday (15)

Georgia Maguire, Sarah-Jayne Butler, Chris Leveaux...

image
02 Cycling with Moliere (tbc)

Fabrice Luchini, Lambert Wilson, Maya Sansa

image
03 The Nut Job (U)

Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson

image
04 The Equalizer (tbc)

Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz

image
05 If I Stay (12A)

Chloë Grace Moretz, Lauren Lee Smith, Mireille Eno...

Content updated: 22/07/2014 08:18

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Love Me Till Monday (15)

Georgia Maguire stars as a young woman disillusioned with the new world of work and the lack of Mr Right in her life.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.