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The Savages

3. The Savages
Written & Directed by Tamara Jenkins, 2007
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney & Philip Bosco

"Maybe dad didn't abandon us. Maybe he just forgot who we were."

A tour-de-force of acting and writing, a small but immensely powerful film that finds humour in the most unlikely of places. Jenkins' story is one of tough realism, about the realities of the human experience, but one from which she pulls a remarkable amount of bittersweet humour and unsentimental pathos, a film that shocks you with its dark wit and sneaks up with an emotional kick to the gut. It hits you in the heart, in the stomach, and in the mind.

"We're not in therapy now, we're in real life."

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney are easily two of my very favourite actors and it's an unrelenting pleasure for me to watch them work together in this context; a joint-lead performance that displays great dynamism and chemistry. They each possess a rare commodity in the acting world - many performers please us with their comedic chops or emotional intensity but Hoffman and Linney are among the few, at least for me anyway, who consistently deliver performances grounded in an emotional reality that makes us feel as if we are watching real people on screen. The Savages is the perfect platform to showcase this energy, a character-driven film about real people in a very real situation.

If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing this yet, I can't recommend it enough. It's not broad but I do think it has something that everyone will be able to appreciate, even if you don't love it as unabashedly as I do.