Synopsis by Mark Deming
A pair of siblings are forced to set aside their discomfort with one another for the sake of their father in this low-key comedy drama from writer/director Tamara Jenkins. Wendy Savage (Laura Linney) is a struggling playwright living in New York City who works a day job to support herself and can't shake the feeling that she's failed as an artist. Wendy isn't especially happy about her love life either, gaining little self-esteem from her on-and-off affair with oversexed, married neighbor Larry (Peter Friedman). Wendy's anxieties about her writing career are intensified by the success of her brother, Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who teaches theater history at a college in Buffalo, NY, and has published a number of books. While Jon's life seems fine on the surface, a case of writer's block has stalled work on his latest project, and he's deeply upset that his girlfriend is soon to leave the United States to return to her native Poland. Wendy and Jon don't get along and prefer not to see one another, but an unfortunate circumstance brings them together -- their father, Lenny Savage (Philip Bosco). Elderly Lenny has began showing signs of dementia, and shortly after he takes to smearing his feces on the walls of his Arizona home, his ailing long-term girlfriend suddenly dies. Wendy and Jon have little choice but to fly to Arizona and see what can be done for Lenny, but their long-simmering animosity makes it hard for them to deal with the realities of Lenny's condition. The Savages received its world premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
dementia, nursing-home, sibling
High Production Values