A startling, touching look at a family's trying times

Review A-

December 25, 2007|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun movie critic

Reality wounds but also heals in The Savages, writer-director Tamara Jenkins' cuttingly funny-sad family drama about a college-teacher brother, Jon Savage (Philip Seymour Hoffman), his unproduced playwright sister, Wendy (Laura Linney), and their father, Lenny (Philip Bosco), who has lapsed into Parkinson's dementia.

Samuel Johnson said, "When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." One tragedy of dementia is that it scatters its victims' focus. Bosco's willingness to go all the way with the portrait of an old man whose stubbornness and surliness become his strongest, most authentic qualities gives that loss of concentration surprising dramatic clout.

The Savages (Fox Searchlight) Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney, Philip Bosco. Directed by Tamara Jenkins. Rated R. Time 113 minutes.

Online

Watch a preview and see more photos from The Savages at baltimoresun.com/savages

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