The Savages

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 91 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 76 out of 91
  2. Negative: 7 out of 91
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  1. Aug 26, 2014
    8
    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. 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 familyThe 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. Expand
  2. Nov 26, 2011
    2
    Hoffman was his usual fantastic self, and thats about it. Really dull, boring movie, worth it only for the rather witty theatre references. Avoid, unless you want to sleep
  3. Sep 3, 2014
    6
    Siblings' 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!
  4. JayH.
    Apr 19, 2008
    8
    Exceptionally well acted by everyone in the cast. The writing is excellent and the direction is solid. Good score. A moving story, believably told. Excellent.
  5. RobertI.
    Feb 2, 2008
    4
    Wallows in the grunge of everyday pain without the necessary drama to elevate the action. Dirty countertops, scarred lives, and a nursing home that doesn't look as soiled as it might. Real life has more tang.
  6. NickK
    Apr 2, 2008
    10
    I adore this film. Brutal yet beautiful with some utterly hilarious moments, The Savages is deeply affecting in its unnerving honesty. I had tears running down my cheeks while also emitting some of the deepest belly laughs I've ever experienced in a cinema. I can't recommend it highly enough.
  7. ET.
    Dec 3, 2007
    6
    It was good -- but not great. a little slow / boring in the second act.
  8. FredG
    Jan 2, 2008
    6
    This movie will mean more to people who have experienced the nursing home option with their own parent(s). It handles the difficult subjects well and honestly, but does not deliver on the true difficulty a senior experiences in a nursing home. The father adapted to the nursing home too gracefully and died too quickly. I hope to one day see an honest portrayal of the nursing home This movie will mean more to people who have experienced the nursing home option with their own parent(s). It handles the difficult subjects well and honestly, but does not deliver on the true difficulty a senior experiences in a nursing home. The father adapted to the nursing home too gracefully and died too quickly. I hope to one day see an honest portrayal of the nursing home experience, including its impact on the "client" and his family. This film tries and succeeds on many levels, which is why I rate it a six. I also recommend "With Honors". Joe Pesci and Brendon Frazer really drive the eldercare issue home. The ending of The Savages is interesting to say the least. Without blowing the ending, I'll just say that guilt plays a interesting role in Linney's decision. Expand
  9. EvanS.
    Jan 9, 2008
    9
    The leads played their roles extremely well and even with the grit and misfortune among the characters (making for more than a few wince inducing moments) it felt real and the filmmaker gets the laughs honestly. With an ending that could be perceived as sentimental and feel-good, it's most deserved. An amazing movie - it's hard to believe that an American filmmaker can do this.
  10. DavidS.
    Feb 27, 2008
    8
    Bound to be a good watch with two of America's most talented actors at work. It is essentially about the performers, but the story does have something to sat about life and death in the lightest and funniest of ways and there are some true and funny moments.
  11. ChadS.
    Feb 6, 2008
    9
    If Jon(Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and Wendy(Laura Linney) Savage weren't academics from opposite spectrums in the English profession, a harmless comment like, "Where is it?" pertaining to a couch obscured by clutter, would pass by unnoticed. It would just simply be the case of a sister making an offhanded comment to her messy brother. But because they are, this remark is actually quite If Jon(Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and Wendy(Laura Linney) Savage weren't academics from opposite spectrums in the English profession, a harmless comment like, "Where is it?" pertaining to a couch obscured by clutter, would pass by unnoticed. It would just simply be the case of a sister making an offhanded comment to her messy brother. But because they are, this remark is actually quite loaded. She's jealous. She helps move his books out of hostility. Wendy is a creative writer(she has a M.F.A.), while Jon has a background in comparative literature. An ordinary person may dabble in playwriting, but nobody(no sane person) dabbles in English theory; so it goes that Jon is the intellectual heavyweight. Jon may love his baby sister, but familial ties can only soften, not eliminate, his ostentatious disposition towards people on the other side of the English divide. Look closely at what Jon does in his classroom with that piece of chalk. He's effectively tearing Wendy's craft apart, limb from limb with a single flat line. In another scene, Wendy says, "It's like we don't exist," when she and Jon leave their father's retirement home. This remark, on a deeper level, refers to French literary critic Roland Barthes' essay, "Death of the Author", which encourages the reader to "separate a literary work from its creator in order to liberate it from interpretive tyranny." Applied to a film about angry children who blame their father(Phillip Bosco) for an array of dysfunctionalities, "The Savages" doesn't necessarily side with Jon and Wendy. Maybe a post-structuralist would tell the Savage children to get over themselves and grow up. Expand
  12. AgathaX
    Mar 4, 2008
    5
    Real life is simply not this relentlessly bleak unless you work at it very hard. Phllip Seymour Hoffman was the highlight, bringing what bits of humor there were, though his character was the least involved. The best I can say about Laura Linney was that she was convincingly unlikeable. Except on rare occasions where she was unconvincingly unlikeable--as when she wrestled a pillow out of Real life is simply not this relentlessly bleak unless you work at it very hard. Phllip Seymour Hoffman was the highlight, bringing what bits of humor there were, though his character was the least involved. The best I can say about Laura Linney was that she was convincingly unlikeable. Except on rare occasions where she was unconvincingly unlikeable--as when she wrestled a pillow out of the embrace of a wheelchair bound elderly woman, or told her brother a whopper befitting an 8 year old. When I saw the film, about 3/4 of the way into the picture an old man in the back yelled out that this was a stupid move. Right there with ya brother. A friend and I who suffered through the Squid and the Whale and both consider it one of the most unpleasant and pointless movies we have ever sat through (albeit well acted) use that as landmark for measuring how bad a movie is. This was slightly better than Squid and Whale. Collapse
  13. ClintR.
    May 5, 2008
    9
    Given the subject matter this could've easily been a depressing affair, however, in Jenking delicate hands "Savages" makes for a warm, intricate journey into adulthood. Hoffman and Linney are absolutely superb. Great film!
  14. LineaL.
    May 7, 2008
    10
    I found it interesting that the film did not take the easy path of spelling out all the gory details of the father's abusive past. Rather, we experience the sometimes-stressed but enduring bond between brother and sister, and observe that they retain enough humanity to (a) make their way in life and (b) find some mercy for their father despite everything. One complaint: Yet another I found it interesting that the film did not take the easy path of spelling out all the gory details of the father's abusive past. Rather, we experience the sometimes-stressed but enduring bond between brother and sister, and observe that they retain enough humanity to (a) make their way in life and (b) find some mercy for their father despite everything. One complaint: Yet another crappy wig in a movie! What, Linney can't dye her hair brown for a few months? Expand
  15. JaneH
    May 8, 2008
    2
    A little too real life. Boring and forgettable everyday life. What was the point? I can't believe I stayed awake through the whole one note lull of a sleeper.
  16. AdamV.
    Aug 27, 2008
    10
    One of my favorite movies..it's a comedy that actually has emotion..(which is something some of the film community lacks nowadays) ..Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman give tremendous preformences and their chemistry on the screen just works...Philip Bosco is also a breath of fresh air as their hostile father put into a retirement home...i just love this movie
  17. MatthewB
    Jun 8, 2009
    5
    Mediocre, predictable, god-awfully sincere writing almost drowns three fine actors.
  18. DWilly
    Dec 7, 2007
    6
    If it had maintained the quality of its first twenty minutes, this film might deserve the good reviews; but without any real plot to speak of, a muddy tone, behind the beat editing and by-the-munbers camera work, it required the quality of the acting (especially Phillip Seymour Hoffman who really seems to be hitting his fantastic, egoless stride) to keep this thing watchable. Bad title.
  19. DM
    Jan 1, 2008
    3
    The acting was okay, but the movie was depressing and didn't leave me feeling anything different then before I came in.
  20. IanR.
    Jan 13, 2008
    9
    Two great actors, a fantastic script, tight narrative and no bullshit sentimentality: What's not to like?
  21. FredericoA.
    Apr 14, 2008
    8
    What a great movie! The mood was absolutely top notch and I just cant love Seymour Hoffman more now. This is life .
  22. KenN.
    Apr 20, 2008
    5
    A mildly interesting failure of a film that aims to depict 2 "realistic" adult characters suddenly faced with taking care of their elder father. The tone of the film is almost constantly off kilter. Sure I get the few dark comic moments but those scenes arent that clever or memorable. Meanwhile most of the film is unrelentingly depressing. The lead actors do a fine job but it really A mildly interesting failure of a film that aims to depict 2 "realistic" adult characters suddenly faced with taking care of their elder father. The tone of the film is almost constantly off kilter. Sure I get the few dark comic moments but those scenes arent that clever or memorable. Meanwhile most of the film is unrelentingly depressing. The lead actors do a fine job but it really doesnt matter. The film is a pointless bore with a too-easy ending. Expand
  23. MarkM.
    Apr 28, 2008
    3
    I expected a witty, biting, Noah Baumbach kind of movie. I was very disappointed. I found it droning, tedious, and Laura Linney downright annoying.
  24. WaltS
    May 22, 2008
    8
    The first two-thirds or so of "The Savages" is mesmerizing. Unforgettable. The last third or so, Tamara Jenkins makes things too easy for herself, which ends up bringing the film a little back down to earth. Philip Bosco's performance is one of the best that I have ever seen in my life. Highly recommended. Be sure to note that this is much more of a "drama" than a "comedy."
  25. TonyB.
    Jul 19, 2008
    7
    It had several points to make and made them well. Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Philip Bosco were superb.
  26. MichaelC.
    Feb 2, 2009
    8
    Painful to watch at times; sobering. Wonderfully acted. A terrific story.
  27. AlanS.
    Dec 10, 2007
    7
    An interesting exploration of the issues that arise from broken families and aging parents. While it was a "good" film I had a hard time totally losing myself in the story. It had the feel of a play that could have been done on stage in limbo lightin...(read more)g. The characters are supposed to be smart and funny but a lot of the dialogue sounded like quirky snippets of "meaningful" or An interesting exploration of the issues that arise from broken families and aging parents. While it was a "good" film I had a hard time totally losing myself in the story. It had the feel of a play that could have been done on stage in limbo lightin...(read more)g. The characters are supposed to be smart and funny but a lot of the dialogue sounded like quirky snippets of "meaningful" or "sharp" quips you get in plays that are not written by Allen, Mamet or Miller. Well, maybe Mamet. PSH does his best "I can shuffle around, unshaven and deliver dialogue without moving my lips" work. And Linney looks better than ever doing the nervous bird bit. While the cast does fine work, I was a bit put off by the casting of almost every character. Having said all that, The Savages is a worthy entry into the "dysfunctional family-modern people who can't manage relationships" genre. Despite its problems, I laughed and cried. The eggs made me sad.... you'd have to see it to understand. Expand
  28. danielw
    Dec 22, 2007
    10
    Pitch-perfect screenplay, and three performances to die for. Though Hoffman and Linney have received a lot of well-deserved credit, Bosco, playing the father, is their equal in every scene they share. Not always an easy movie to watch, but the characters will linger with you well after the credits roll.
  29. BillyS.
    Jan 22, 2008
    7
    Painfully honest and heartbreakingly real, The Savages is not a comedy, nor is it a black comedy but a beautifully acted drama with an occasional uncomfortable laugh. Linney and Hoffman portray the best screen bother/sister since Linney worked the same magic with Mark Ruffalo in You Can Count On Me. Tamara Jenkins has written and directed a touching script without the usual sentimentality Painfully honest and heartbreakingly real, The Savages is not a comedy, nor is it a black comedy but a beautifully acted drama with an occasional uncomfortable laugh. Linney and Hoffman portray the best screen bother/sister since Linney worked the same magic with Mark Ruffalo in You Can Count On Me. Tamara Jenkins has written and directed a touching script without the usual sentimentality that usually gets these pictures made. After this and Away From Her, I wonder what Rob Reiner was thinking when he made Bucket List! Expand
  30. KatherineS.
    Jan 24, 2008
    10
    Awesome. Just great story telling. Also, don't be afraid to see it, it's not too sad.
  31. KathleenK.
    Feb 24, 2008
    7
    Likely most enjoyed by those who've walked this walk; I'd hoped for more dark comedy, but many of the attempts fell flat, not sure why -- timing? editing? But fine performances, interesting plot line, real character development and realistic characters (except for the Dad's character, which was a little two dimensional).
  32. KaseyS.
    Mar 17, 2008
    5
    I must have missed something. I love both actors, but did not see what all of the fuss is about. Story is flat and unreedeming. The actors make it watchable.
  33. JohnC
    Dec 22, 2007
    4
    A depressing look at a depressing subject. Ignore all references to "comedy" or "funny" or you will be misled. Beautifully acted, of course. Putting Laura Linney in a dark wig was a big mistake. And will someone please buy the DP a tripod!
  34. CydneyB.
    Dec 22, 2007
    2
    This film was one of the worst I've ever seen... bleak, depressing, boring, interminable. The 2 cute quips in the trailer are all you get ... Linney's a pathetic whiner, Hoffman is perfect but the character so flawed you don't give a damn, and I'd have let the father rot in the nursing home w/o a second thought. Yuk.
  35. NickG.
    Dec 28, 2007
    8
    Great acting. Great characters. It's a depressing story that anyone with elderly parents will unfortunately relate too. It's as entertaining as a movie about growing old, feeble, and terminal can be.
  36. Dec 9, 2011
    7
    A dark, bleak look at dealing with an aging parent. Hoffman and Linny do their best with writing so charmless that it actually elevates them, or should I say affirms them at the head of their class in an acting world filled with "movie stars." The moments are more thought-provoking than funny. It's wintertime in Buffalo, NY and there isn't a ray of sunshine or a cookie to be eaten. TheA dark, bleak look at dealing with an aging parent. Hoffman and Linny do their best with writing so charmless that it actually elevates them, or should I say affirms them at the head of their class in an acting world filled with "movie stars." The moments are more thought-provoking than funny. It's wintertime in Buffalo, NY and there isn't a ray of sunshine or a cookie to be eaten. The deck is seemingly so stacked that you have to laugh at the odds against our hero's tired, yet striving, souls. Expand
  37. Jun 2, 2015
    8
    Tamara 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,Tamara 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
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  38. Sep 1, 2013
    7
    While it may be a little too slow for some, "The Savages" nevertheless manages to present a heapload of dramatic ideas and thematically compelling subject matter throughout a worthwhile collage of heartfelt character interaction.
  39. Aug 13, 2014
    7
    The Savages is a tough movie. It deals with unpleasant themes such as mediocrity, failed relationships and taking care of aging relatives who did not do a good job at parenting. The results are excellent, thanks to the outstanding cast and script.

    It starts on a sarcastic note, with dad Lenny Savage (a great Philip Bosco) behaving badly in sunny Arizona. Lenny is an unpleasant old
    The Savages is a tough movie. It deals with unpleasant themes such as mediocrity, failed relationships and taking care of aging relatives who did not do a good job at parenting. The results are excellent, thanks to the outstanding cast and script.

    It starts on a sarcastic note, with dad Lenny Savage (a great Philip Bosco) behaving badly in sunny Arizona. Lenny is an unpleasant old man, spending his retirement in a senior-only community. When his female companion dies suddenly, we learn that they were not married and that the house belonged to her. The woman's children want Lenny out ASAP, so his two estranged children, Wendy and Jon (equally great Linney and Seymour Hoffman) must come and take him back to the East Coast, where they live.

    Also due to their difficult childhood – only hinted at - Wendy and Jon have issues of their own, such as being unable to have healthy, long terms relationships. Wendy is involved in a dispassionate affair with a married man and Jon cannot commit to his long-term Polish girlfriend who must leave the US before being deported. The siblings have a strained relationship of their own, fed on the frustration of having both literary ambitions, but holding mundane jobs.

    The movie develops their relationship nicely, as the only metaphorical ray of sunshine in an otherwise frosty and desolate landscape. Despite the abuse they suffered at the hands of Lenny and a mother who just "left", they try to do their best to care for their hostile, demented dad, who does not show a shred of gratitude. The movie has a sort of melancholic humour and even manages to end with a much needed uplifting note. Definitely top-class film-making for discerning audiences.
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Metascore
85

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
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Jamie Tipps
    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.
  3. 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.