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THE SAVAGES (2007) ***

Two of the best actors in recent years, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney star in this depressing but often funny movie from director Tamara (The Slums of Beverly Hills) Jenkins as siblings who must put their lives on hold when they have to stick their deadbeat delusional dad (Phillip Bosco from F/X 2:  The Deadly Art of Illusion) in a nursing home.  At first glance, this may seem like a sappy melodrama, but the flick actually works thanks to the excellent performances by the three leads. 

 

If you’ve ever had to put a loved one into a nursing home (like me), a lot of what this movie has to say will hit home for you.  It doesn’t pull any punches and thankfully refrains from descending into sitcom like clichés.  A lot of the humor is very dark (at one point the dementia ridden father starts writing profane graffiti using his own feces), but most of it is akin to a Wes Anderson movie and not something you’d see on “Must See TV”, or some shit like that. 

 

Although the movie could’ve benefited from some more disciplined editing (the pacing tends to meander occasionally), it’s the performances that make everything worthwhile.  I don’t think I’ve seen Linney or Hoffman give a bad performance yet.  They are both superb here and they really make you believe that they are brother and sister.  It was also nice seeing the villain from F/X 2:  The Deadly Art of Illusion being given a meaty role for a change as the shit smearing senile senior. 

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