The Savages

Institute History


In her consummately executed, irreverent drama The Savages, Tamara Jenkins achieves a rare storytelling feat: making us simultaneously laugh and cry. In what may evolve into a new genre, the coming-of-middle-age story, she has captured all the pain and misgivings that befall a pair of adult siblings, suddenly plucked from their very absorbed lives and forced to care for a parent who never much bothered to care for them, and transformed what could make viewers uncomfortable into a brilliantly humane examination of family dynamics.

That she has at her disposal two of the finest actors working today in Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney, an outstanding creative team behind the camera, and sage, capable producers contributes to the excellence of this production. But this is a film that underscores how much can be established in a single scene and how profound and intelligent a work that takes risks to succeed on multiple levels can be.

That The Savages is detailed and nuanced goes without saying. That it makes us see ourselves at every turn and never exploits or cheapens any of its scenarios is a notable accomplishment. Young lives have often been chronicled. The Savages is the portrait of a family at a point films usually ignore, from a director/writer whose talent will certainly not be.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

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