Putting the fun back in family dysfunction

As the holiday (Oscar) season approaches, movies tend to become rather grandiose and full of big ideas (see: war movies, period love films, historical biopics). What a relief it is to have the The Savages (11/28 in select cities), an excellent, irreverent, and entirely accessible look at siblinghood, responsibility, and mortality.

Directed by Tamara Jenkins (Slums of Beverly Hills), what could have been a grim exercise — two adult siblings reunite to take care of their estranged father, who is suffering from dementia — is instead a bittersweet and achingly familiar look at the family dynamics that never seem to change no matter how old we children get. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney give their usual outstanding performances, and the nimble writing captures the intimate shorthand and hilarity that inevitably seem to crop up during family crises.

WATCH the trailer for The Savages

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