Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Savages (Tamara Jenkins, 2007) B

The Savages is not exactly the dark, dysfunctional family comedy that it was advertised to be, but I still found Tamara Jenkins' film to be, for the most part, worth the effort. The film is smarter than most dysfunctional family comedies because it doesn't have improbably snappy and witty dialogue and the relationship between Wendy (The Lovely Laura Linney) and her brother Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman) feels completely natural and realistic. There's this wonderful scene that takes place towards the end of the film that I just can't get out of my head a couple of weeks later. The father (Philip Bosco) has just died and Wendy and Jon are standing over his body, not really sure how to react. Finally, Wendy speaks up and, in a tone somewhere between a declaration and a question, says, "This is it." The moment is so quiet and subtle that it's easy to forget, but I think it points out the major strengths of this film. I would love to rate this film higher, but there were just a few moments throughout the entire length that really dragged the film down and made it feel a tad bit too long. Still, a fantastic job from Jenkins, someone I will definitely be looking out for in the future.

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