Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Savages

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: R

Starring:
Laura Linney as Wendy Savage
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Jon Savage
Philip Bosco as Lenny Savage
Peter Friedman as Larry
David Zayas as Eduardo
Gbenga Akinnagbe as Jimmy
Cara Seymour as Kasia
Tonye Patano as Ms. Robinson
Guy Boyd as Bill Lachman
Debra Monk as Nancy Lachman
Rosemary Murphy as Doris Metzger
Hal Blankenship as Burt
Joan Jaffe as Lizzie

Special Features:
About "The Savages" Featurette
Director's Snapshots
Extended Scene

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 113 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD description:

"Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman and Academy Award nominee Laura Linney deliver unforgettable performances in this hilarious coming-of-middle age story from Oscar -nominated writer / director Tamara Jenkins. Until recently, all John and Wendy Savage (Hoffman, Linney) had in common were a lousy childhood and a few strands of DNA. But after years of drifting apart, they're forced to band together to care for the elderly, cantankerous father who made their formative 'challenging.' In the process, both of these aimless, perpetually adolescent fortysomethings may just, at long last, have to grow up!"

"The Savages" is rated R for some sexuality and language.

Mini-Review:
I found "The Savages" to be a rather difficult film to watch. It centers around two siblings dealing with the deteriorating health of their elderly father due to Parkinson's disease. If that weren't depressing enough, my family had to deal with a similar situation a few years ago. I watched my parents, aunts, and uncles dealing with my grandfather as he succumbed to Parkinson's. Because it hit so close to reality, it made the movie significantly more depressing for me. I suppose some people will enjoy it because they'll be able to identify with the many trials that Linney and Hoffman face, but I wasn't in that place while watching it.

I had other reasons for not being too into "The Savages." It's primarily a character drama which is typically hit or miss. It doesn't have a real clear plot. It mainly follows Laura Linney as Wendy Savage and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Jon Savage as they deal with their father and their long lasting issues associated with childhood abuse at his hands. The movie really meanders along and shows little more than Wendy and Jon dealing with the ultimate death of their father. If you're in the mood for such an unfocused ride down the storyline, then that's perfectly OK. I wasn't.

All that being said, Linney and Hoffman deliver their usual excellent performances. Linney is high strung, guilt ridden, and depressed as Wendy. By contrast, Jon is realistic, easygoing, and focused as Jon. It's interesting to see how the two are so different yet they perfectly compliment each other as they deal with this personal crisis. In short, they're just like real siblings. Philip Bosco is also good as Lenny Savage. One minute he's mindlessly sitting there, the next he flies into rage, the next he falls into confusion. It's a critical, yet easy to overlook performance.

If you like depressing movie that seem more like therapy sessions for the creators, then "The Savages" is a movie you'll want to see. If you're looking for more lighthearted fare, you'll need to look elsewhere.

The bonus features on this DVD are rather minimal. There's a 'making of' featurette and an extended scene, but little else. There's no commentary, gag reel, or other DVD staples.

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