Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Savages

Contrary to what you may think, "The Savages" is not a documentary about the Yanomamo, or some other tribal group living in a remote corner of the rain forest. "The Savages" is about Wendy, Jon and Lenny Savage, the daughter, son and father in the Savage family. It's also the best movie I have seen in a while.
You should really go and watch it. That being said, I also recommend giving careful thought to when, and with whom you will go. The movie revolves around the theme of the body, more specifically its decay, aging and death; and the treatment is quite direct, which makes for some uncomfortable moments. I would definitely not recommend it for a date. I would also advise not to go if what you need is some cheering up. There are some very funny moments, and the ending is happy, sort of, but it's definitely not a feel-good movie.
The story opens with Lenny Savage, the aging father, having a fit of dementia; he has to move out of his residence, and as a result, his two estranged children, Wendy and Jon, suddenly have to figure out what to do with him. The acting of the movie is absolutely flawless. I was especially touched by the relationship between the brother (Philip Seymour Hoffman, from "Capote") and sister (Laura Linney, from "The Squid and the Whale"); their struggle coping with this body irrupting in their life with a heavy luggage of anxiety, and their closeness, with a deep mutual understanding, and an ability to push each other's buttons, are perfect.
Unfortunately, "The Savages" has been released at about the same time as "Juno", which has taken the "darling indie movie of the moment" spotlight; hopefully, when the Juno craze fades out, its time to shine will come!

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