The Savages - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Savages Reviews

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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 17, 2011
| Original Score: 4/5
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
May 13, 2009
| Original Score: 4/5
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Christopher Orr
The New Republic
September 22, 2008
Linney and Hoffman are both terrific, and Jenkins's script is pointed and perceptive, but the film's arc is a little flat.
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February 7, 2008
It's billed as a comedy. You may or may not find much to laugh at.
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Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
January 29, 2008
Jenkins' brushstrokes of her characters are too exacting to move us more than a lifelike painting of a basket of fruit. We can be awed at the techniques, but walk away empty.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Tom Long
Detroit News
December 26, 2007
Powerful, painful and yet unerringly funny as it points out our emotional and physical vulnerabilities, this is a film that finds the humor in tragedy while keeping both omnipresent.
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John Monaghan
Detroit Free Press
December 26, 2007
The Savages not only boasts Oscar-worthy performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney as a self-absorbed brother and sister, its attention to detail makes it sweetly funny and genuine.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 26, 2007
The Savages isn't cheery holiday fare, ... and yet Jenkins makes her film unexpectedly uplifting, in a small-scale, real-life kind of way.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 26, 2007
The film is savagely funny about the indignities of old age, yet optimistic that it's never too late to have a happy childhood.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Susan Walker
Toronto Star
December 21, 2007
The dynamic that operates throughout this film is fantasy versus reality, not just in the lives of the characters but in American life in general.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 21, 2007
Tamara Jenkins has made a movie about something that lots of people are going through but nobody wants to deal with, not even in life, much less in entertainment. And she's done it fearlessly, with the right mix of humor and horror.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
December 21, 2007
The humor in The Savages is born out of the performances by Linney and Hoffman, two actors who can convey as much about their characters as the ones around them with a seemingly effortless, instinctual ability.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
December 21, 2007
Smartly written and beautifully played.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 21, 2007
Both Linney and Hoffman are so specific in creating these characters that we see them as people, not elements in a plot.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 21, 2007
Its astringent humor is not funny ha-ha, it's funny-ouch.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Jessica Reaves
Chicago Tribune
December 20, 2007
Assured and sharp, The Savages is only Jenkins' second feature-length film. You'd never know it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
December 20, 2007
One of those genre-defying hybrids that are sometimes called dramedies, The Savages tiptoes along a particularly fraught emotional tightrope, balancing observant humor and deep sadness with uncommon grace.
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Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
December 20, 2007
Although the story may sound as dismal as Buffalo's weather, it's surprisingly funny. Not gag funny, but observation funny -- the absurdities of real life, seen and presented.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
December 12, 2007
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
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 5, 2007
With the help of acting giants, [director Tamara] Jenkins turns The Savages into a twisted, bittersweet pleasure.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
December 4, 2007
Tamara Jenkins returns with a story that squarely addresses the concerns of middle age, treating them with the gravity they deserve but also the forbearance and humor they often demand.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 3, 2007
One of those small, perfectly crafted, bittersweet family dramas it touches on so many truths it's almost painful to watch at times.
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Ella Taylor
Village Voice
November 30, 2007
The movie also comes with the wistful sadness of a maturing filmmaker who understands that in matters of death, sorrow and black comedy often walk hand in hand.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
November 29, 2007
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.
| Original Score: B+
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
November 29, 2007
At its best, The Savages captures the lunacy that comes with coping with sorrow.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
November 29, 2007
While The Savages is a story about decrepitude and death, and chronicles a family whose wounds run too deep, it never has that claustrophobic, trapped-in-a-nightmare feeling of some dysfunctional family flicks.
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
November 29, 2007
[Director] Jenkins gleefully rubs the more graphic symptoms of dementia in our faces. But the movie also comes with the wistful sadness of a maturing filmmaker who understands that in matters of death, sorrow and black comedy often walk hand in hand.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 28, 2007
These are fascinating, three-dimensional individuals brought into the foreground by a pair of today's finest actors.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
November 28, 2007
Despite its dark humor, The Savages tackles the tough topics of aging, frailty, humiliation and death. All depressing stuff, to be sure, but Jenkins handles it with a delicate, relatable touch, and without being maudlin.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
November 28, 2007
Tamara Jenkins' writing and direction are superb.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
November 28, 2007
One of the best movies of the year so far.
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
November 28, 2007
The actors have found mutual subcurrents to their characters that project familial affection even when they are at each other's throats.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
November 28, 2007
To everyone's credit, this film faces these issues bravely and humorously, eschewing any hint of emotional manipulation.
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
November 28, 2007
The Savages is the perfect comic offering for a season when family Pandora's boxes come swinging open like so many must-return gifts.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
November 28, 2007
Darkly hilarious, Tamara Jenkins' The Savages captures the cruel demographic joke facing many boomers who are forced to take care of aging parents at a point when they haven't entirely figured out their own lives.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
November 28, 2007
Tamara Jenkins's The Savages is a beautifully nuanced tragicomedy about two floundering souls.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
November 27, 2007
Jenkins walks this dramatic tightrope with breathtaking ease. The humor is never forced but always springs from the characters and situations naturally.
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David Denby
New Yorker
November 26, 2007
Vital, honest, and engaging.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
November 26, 2007
The Savages is a delightful movie -- the perfect companion piece (and antidote) to the year's other superb convalescent-dementia picture, Away From Her.
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David Ansen
Newsweek
November 26, 2007
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.
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
November 21, 2007
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.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Jonathan Crocker
Time Out
October 11, 2007
Hoffman and Linney are wonderful -- underplaying so perfectly that crumpled, bittersweet truths continue to surface.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/6
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
September 6, 2007
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
January 21, 2007
Tamara Jenkins excels more at maximizing individual moments here than at developing a meaty storyline. But a great many of the moments are choice.