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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Savages (2007)

An estranged brother (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and sister (Laura Linney) must come together when the father (Philip Bosco) they've cut out of their lives needs to be cared for because of his dementia. Written and directed by Tamara Jenkins (SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS), the film's narrative navigates through what could have been treacherous territory. But while lesser directors would have gone for the tear ducts, Jenkins isn't interested in sentiment. Hoffman and Linney's characters are easily recognizable as the broken issue of a dysfunctional family but rather dwell on the effects of an abusive father and absent mother, the film focuses their struggle to move forward with their lives rather than wallowing in their victim status. Jenkins balances the inevitable humor of life's craziness with the everyday pain that comes with living. While Jenkins doesn't give us a neat tied in with a ribbon ending, she gives us the possibilities of things being set right. Linney (in an Oscar nominated performance) and Hoffman give superb performances as does Bosco. With Peter Friedman, Cara Seymour, Margo Martindale, Rosemary Murphy (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD) and Debra Monk.

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