What You Need To Know:
THE SAVAGES has a humorous sadness that is very touching. Linney and Hoffman do a superb job in their roles. Writer/director Tamara Jenkins has crafted a moving drama. Though there’s little or no mention of an afterlife, the movie deals with its life and death issues in a serious manner that is ultimately life affirming. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution, however, because of strong foul language, sexual references and the lack of an overt biblical worldview.
(Pa, H, BB, LLL, V, SS, N, A, DD, M) Mixed pagan worldview about coping with a dying parent with some pagan behavior and some humanist elements (including man speaks harshly about getting old and dying) but strong moral elements and premise that are ultimately life affirming, though not religious; 21 obscenities, seven strong obscenities, six light obscenities, and elderly man writes a bad word with his feces; very light violence such as angry moments, woman grabs stolen pillow out of elderly woman’s hands and issues concerning death are dealt with; light scene of depicted adultery sex, implied adultery, man’s live-in girlfriend leaves for home country of Poland but no bedroom scenes with them, and talk of elderly man’s “common law” marriage; upper male nudity; alcohol use; smoking and people take anti-depressants; and, lying, some frank treatment of nursing home issues, a couple shots of a Buddha house decoration, and African Americans are angry when scenes of Al Jolson in blackface in “The Jazz Singer” appear during a movie night in a nursing home.
THE SAVAGES is a poignant drama about two humanist intellectuals coping with the dementia of their elderly estranged father. Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman play Wendy and Jon Savage, a struggling playwright and a neurotic college professor, whose careers and personal lives are interrupted when their estranged father, Lenny, suddenly starts displaying extreme symptoms of dementia. While Jon looks for a nursing home for Lenny in Buffalo where he lives, Wendy has to shepherd Lenny out of beautiful Sun City, Arizona to the airport and on a plane for Buffalo.
Wendy, who lives in New York, decides to room with Jon while they settle their father into the nursing home. The experience of taking care of their father, who they have long feared and avoided, matures them in ways neither expected. Wendy’s optimistic outlook concerning their father’s plight clashes with Jon’s pessimistic one, but they soon find strength in each other. Their experience encourages Wendy to think about ending her relationship with her married neighbor, and Jon to think about making a commitment to his long-time Polish girlfriend.
As two of the movie’s producers have noted, THE SAVAGES has a humorous sadness that is very touching. Linney and Hoffman do a superb job in their roles, as do Philip Bosco as the father and Gbenga Akinnagbe as an African nurse who cares for the father at the nursing home. Writer/director Tamara Jenkins has crafted a moving drama. Though there’s little or no mention of an afterlife, the movie deals with its life and death issues in a serious manner that is ultimately life affirming and uplifting. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution, however, because of strong foul language, sexual references and the movie’s lack of an overt biblical worldview.