Friday, June 20, 2008

The Savages

I love my brother. I've only really started to enjoy his company over the past couple of years, but I think a shared childhood leaves you deeply connected by more than blood. We share a frame of reference. Our senses of humour have been honed by the same television shows. We like the same food. I find something very interesting about the relationship between siblings, so the brother-sister dynamic that makes up the heart of The Savages (a relationship that is rarely explored in cinema) was very compelling for me.

This is a film that seems at first glance to be about the absurdity of American life, but moves deeper, beyond the opening candy-coloured shots into a tragicomedy about how we keep ourselves together, how we stay upright. Two of the minutiae that stuck with me as perfectly fitting were tuna melts and occasional, not altogether necessary pill popping. I've indulged in both. And both can be beautiful, in their way.

This movie made me laugh, though not in a guffawing way. The characters, the movie itself, have heart. I wasn't sure I would like it, but I should have considered it's pedigree. Written and directed by Tamara Jenkins, who also made Slums of Beverly Hills, a movie I enjoyed so much. Laura Linney is great as always; Phillip Seymour Hoffman is also great, as per usual; and any movie that namechecks Bertolt Brecht is a-okay by me.

4/5 stars.

5 comments:

Amanda said...

I keep thinking I won't like this movie so I've avoided it even though I really like Laura Linney... I didn't realize it was done by the same person that did Slum of Beverly Hills. I LOVEd that movie. I now think I'll rent The Savages.

ana said...

This movie is my movie of the year so far. :)

Ella said...

My movie of the year is Iron Man. haha.

alexandra said...

I think part of the sibling relationship is also shared neuroses from your parents. Like you're fucked up in the same way for the same reasons. I like ranting about that with my sister. But the sense of humour thing is also very true. We have so many jokes no one else finds nearly as funny. But we are completely different personalities.

Ella said...

To Alex:

very very true.

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