The Savages (2007, Tamara Jenkins)

I wonder who was impressed by this? I guess reviewers are calling it “honest” and “human”. Jenkins’ “Slums of Beverly Hills” was authentic and funny, from what I can remember, but much more a typical Sundance indie-flick than a great promise of a new artistic voice. Here’s another autobiographical family portrait, more uncomfortable and sad than funny (but it still had its moments of humor). You want to give her credit for making a film about parents getting old, having to be put in a home, with kids not knowing what to do… but not so much credit that the movie can get away with being as uninteresting as this one ultimately is. Mostly consists of Phil Hoffman and Laura Linney underacting in totally drab settings, and I expect that I’ll have forgotten it by March. Has the bad fortune to come out the same year as “Away From Her”, which dealt more with the issues that I thought Savages would be dealing with… in fact, Savages is more about kids not wanting to deal with an elderly father who they never liked or got along with in the first place. The father’s shuffling from his girlfriend’s house (she dies in the prologue) to a home to a hospital to his death is all done reluctantly and with a minimum of effort. When the old man dies, the dark clouds disperse! Frustrated writer Linney suddenly has offers to publish her plays and Hoffman is bright and alert and everyone’s happy. I dunno, a pretty alright movie and not a waste of two hours, but I won’t go out of my way to watch her follow-up nine years from now.