The Savages


Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 37
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 37
  3. Negative: 0 out of 37

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. Jenkins' superlative work proves her first film was no fluke; let's hope it doesn't take another nine years to hear from her again.
  2. 91
    This movie provides no phony catharsis or closure; it develops a vision of people growing in spurts from their most terrible mistakes.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Smartly written and beautifully played, The Savages is about that point in life where you look around and realize that where you are is probably as far as you're going to get. In spite of this, the movie's a comedy, dry and humane.
  4. The Tony-winning Bosco, one of the great stage actors of the last 50 years, does a lot with a little in his restricted role; he's haughty, almost dignified by his angry silence. Linney and Hoffman stay pitch-perfect in their noisy desperation and sullen withdrawal.
  5. 80
    Disappointment, delusion, dementia, death--did I mention this is a comedy?
  6. 88
    Both Linney and Hoffman are so specific in creating these characters that we see them as people, not elements in a plot. Hoffman in particular shows how many disguises he has within his seemingly immutable presence; would you know it is the same actor here and in two other films this season, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and "Charlie Wilson's War"?
  7. A bracingly honest, funny movie about death and family that skillfully sidesteps the usual pitfalls of sentimentality and mawkishness. It’s what you might call an awards season miracle.
  8. As thin and jokey as this movie often is, I prefer it to the serioso treatment that usually encrusts this type of material. At its best, The Savages captures the lunacy that comes with coping with sorrow.
  9. Reviewed by: Andrew Male
    A richly nuanced American comedy, with two acting talents working at their absolute peak.
  10. The Savages is terrific -- a movie of uncommon appreciation for the nature and nurture that go into making us who we are, a perfectly calibrated drama both compassionate and unsentimental.
  11. 80
    The interaction between Hoffman and Linney makes following their characters from their winter of hard experience to a spring of renewed hope well worth the while.
  12. A brutal encounter with mortality told with uncommon humanity, wit and humor.
  13. 75
    The Savages is ultimately about two siblings, both around 40, in the midst of learning it's never too late to start embracing life, no matter how rotten a hand you were dealt in the past.
  14. The Savages is a TV movie made for the big screen - and it needs the larger venue to accommodate the huge performances of its stars, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney.
  15. The Savages is a delightful movie--the perfect companion piece (and antidote) to the year’s other superb convalescent-dementia picture, "Away From Her."
  16. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    It sounds grimmer than it plays, thanks to Jenkins's sardonic, deadpan humor and the superb cast, who invest these damaged characters with rich, flawed, hilarious humanity. This bittersweet X-ray of American family dynamics may not be a Hallmark-card notion of a holiday movie, but it's one any son or daughter can take to heart.
  17. A movie of absurdist humor, brutal realism and dementia.
  18. 75
    The film has a dreary, worn quality; much of it is set in winter in Buffalo, N.Y., after all. You know before long that the best you can hope for is that these folks won't kill each other or themselves.
  19. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    I generally resist calling any actor's work "brave" or "fearless" or any such thing, but Bosco's work here made me reconsider that self-imposed ban. It's incredible, harrowing, precise stuff.
  20. 75
    These are fascinating, three-dimensional individuals brought into the foreground by a pair of today's finest actors.
  21. 88
    With the help of acting giants, Jenkins turns The Savages into a twisted, bittersweet pleasure.
  22. 90
    What makes the movie memorable is the precision of its tone, its finely calibrated combination of bitterness and warmth. Of course the acting is tremendous, and you'd expect nothing less.
  23. The right mix of humor and horror and with not even a shred of sentimentality.
  24. A darkly funny journey about life ticking by and the change to make wrongs right.
  25. 83
    The frequent outbursts of comedy help alleviate a tone that's appropriately muted and sad, and Jenkins should be credited for refusing to tack smiley-faces onto a tough, possibly lose-lose situation.
  26. Suffused with clever lines, characters with neurotic tics and a pervasive, jocular black humour, The Savages is more about craft than art, but the craft, especially in the writing and acting, is at a high level.
  27. It is more sad-funny than funny-funny, but Jenkins has enough empathy and wit to realize that even the sad parts are, somehow, funny.
  28. Tamara Jenkins’s The Savages, is a beautifully nuanced tragicomedy about two floundering souls.
  29. 80
    Vital, honest, and engaging.
  30. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    I wouldn't call the film inspirational -- it is too well observed to succumb to easy sentiment -- but its realism is patiently engaging and subtly insinuating. And Linney and Hoffman are extraordinary.
  31. The Savages is funny in the if-you-didn't-laugh-you'd-cry way and superbly acted by all involved, including the supporting cast of home-care attendants, nurses, hospital administrators, intake personnel and nursing-home staff.
  32. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    While the film is heart-wrenchingly sad, it also is mordantly funny, uncomfortably prickly and above all, unflinching in its depiction of a believable sibling relationship.
  33. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jenkins brings a rigor, intelligence and eye for the slightly absurd to the proceedings that is instantly disarming.
  34. 80
    The movie is dotted with moments of grace and whacked-out humor that got me on board for this damaged duo's liberation.
  35. I can't begin to count the ways in which The Savages pleased me, but the very best of them is the way Tamara Jenkins's comedy stays tough while sneakily turning tender.
  36. 90
    Bringing a tough, astringent wit to a subject too often wrapped in the cozy blanket of sentimentality or cute humor, Tamara Jenkins takes a frank look at the indignities of aging in The Savages, a black comedy that invites viewers to laugh or at least smile ruefully at the dying of the light.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 91 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 39
  2. Negative: 5 out of 39
  1. Aug 26, 2014
    The Savages is a very sad film to watch at times, but thankfully, tries to lighten up the mood at time with timely comedic elements. PhilipThe Savages is a very sad film to watch at times, but thankfully, tries to lighten up the mood at time with timely comedic elements. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney are brilliant as the two Savage siblings tasked with dealing with the impending death of their father, with whom they had a distant and seemingly abusive relationship with. It is ultimately a beautiful look at family relationships and hardships faced by family throughout our lives. The film has a certain tenderness and heartfeltness that truly pulls you in and makes you feel one with the characters. It also does not hurt if you have had a loved one in this situation, as this film certainly hits home for many. While it is not a happy film, The Savages is a very good, even if depressing, film that really hits all of its marks. It is a very good family drama, comedy, and very poignant film concerning the reality of "rehab" clinics and nursing or retirement homes. As a whole, The Savages is bolstered by those elements, its great acting, and the great direction from Tamara Jenkins. Full Review »
  2. Jun 2, 2015
    Tamara Jenkins' breakthrough indie drama-comedy THE SAVAGES, surprisingly captured 2 Oscar nominations back in 2008 , one for the unmistakablyTamara Jenkins' breakthrough indie drama-comedy THE SAVAGES, surprisingly captured 2 Oscar nominations back in 2008 , one for the unmistakably excellent Laura Linney and a BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY nomination for herself, so freshly coined as an Oscar nominee and subsequently granted the membership of the academy , allegedly her next project should be on the horizon at any time, nevertheless, as a telling manifest of the shameful situation of female directors in the movie industry, 8 years has passed, we still have no news of Tamara’s follow-up to her excellent work, a life-affirming dissection of the worst-case scenario for (almost) every grown-up - how to fulfil our responsibility, when we must become the caretaker of our ageing parents during their last days.

    keep reading my review on my blog, please google: cinema omnivore, thanks
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 3, 2014
    Siblings' look at life, death, relationships and love. I never would have anticipated Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney as an on-screenSiblings' look at life, death, relationships and love. I never would have anticipated Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney as an on-screen match, but they are! Full Review »