Carol and I went to see the new movie The Savages, starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, two of my favorite actors, back on December 29 at The Spectrum Theatre in Albany. Then we got in the car to pick up Lydia from Grandma and Grandpa's house in Oneonta. When we got home, I flipped on Ebert & Roeper. Roeper and New York Times film critic A.O. (Tony) Scott were giving their Top 10 Picks for 2007. Number 9 on Scott's list was The Savages, which he described as a "comedy." A comedy?
The story is about a couple adult children at opposite ends of New York State, Wendy Savage (Linney) in NYC and brother Jon (Hoffman) in Buffalo, forced to deal with their estranged father (Philip Bosco), now in decline, as well as each other. Hilarity does not ensue, but the movie does have quite a few comic moments. The story, on the surface, could be both conventional and depressing; the fact that it is neither is due to the fine screenplay by Tamara Jenkins and the main actors, who were - how do I put it? - specifically Wendy and Jon.
Of course, a viewer also brings himself or herself to the screening, and I could not help but notice that the architecture of Buffalo was noticeably upstate New York; the movie was filmed in the Buffalo area, NYC and Arizona. Also, I couldn't help but recall disagreements one of my sisters and I had about my father's end of life issues.
Still, I enjoyed this film immensely. I'll say again - it's NOT a downer, but an affirmation of life, which sounds corny, and I don't care. However, I do think the title is weak; it suggests a much different film from that offered.
It's rated R, largely for language, a couple tame sex scenes and an early scene which I won't describe, except to say it's not violent. An R rating covers a lot of ground, I'm reminded. My wife went to see The Kite Runner the day before, and she found that PG-13 movie far more disturbing than The Savages.