Wednesday, January 16, 2008
What an adorable, bittersweet little film!
“The Savages” deals with the most serious topics(dementia and death), yet it never comes across as preachy. It portrays a broken family with three depressed, repressed members, but remains lighthearted and affectionate. The script is witty, the humor subtle, and most importantly, it boasts some of the most brilliant acting we have seen in last year.
With an Oscar under his belt, Philip Seymour Hoffman continues to demonstrate his depth. Whether sobbing alone in bathroom in the middle of the night, or castigating his sister’s vanity, Hoffman is amazingly convincing in his role. He shows us the inhibited emotion of a pragmatic intellect, someone who never gets over his lost childhood.
However, this is Laura Linney’s movie. She plays Hoffman's younger sister, a loving, talented, and slightly neurotic woman. She is trapped in a dead-end relationship. She lies to her brother, cheats on federal government, even steals painkillers from dead woman! But Linney is sweet throughout the film. Her likability and nervousness (not to mention her dimples) make us look past the character’s minor flaws to identify with her.
Linney is an underappreciated actress. I have liked her since “The Truman Show”. Unfortunately, she has not had a breakout role all these years. Let us hope “The Savages” will generate enough buzz to earn her an Oscar nod next month.
Also, the film’s washed-out cinematography is beautiful in its own low-key fashion. It somehow manages to make sunny Arizona appears suffocating, and the wintry streets of Buffalo poetic (believe me, Buffalo is one depressing town)!
“The Savages” almost hits every note perfectly. Go see it.