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This is one of the unsung wonders of 2007. Sure, The Savages got two nominations at the Oscars this year, but that’s not nearly as many as it deserves. Philip Bosco is missing a nod, and so is Tamara Jenkins for director (move over, Jason Reitman!) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (let’s pretend he wasn’t nominated instead for Charlie Wilson’s War). Best picture? Well, I would be glad if it got the nomination over something like Michael Clayton or Juno or There Will Be Blood (but I don’t think it would deserve to win).

Laura Linney is sweet and flawed as Wendy, a forty-something who is seeing a married man and desires to get a Guggenheim grant so that she can finish writing her play. Jon (Hoffman), her older brother, is an easy-going professor who is trying to get his book published. One day, the siblings are alerted that they’re father might be suffering with dementia. The rest of the movie is the slow unfolding of the truth behind their actions, mostly dealing with Wendy’s guilt about her father and Jon’s resentment of him (there’s a hint in the beginning of the film that they were abused as kids).

While I found Wendy’s storyline compelling (and how Jon’s practical ways of dealing with his ill father contrast with Wendy’s), what I loved was how Jenkins recreated the crises one faces when taking care of a loved one with dementia. My grandmother possibly has Alzheimer’s, and my mom and aunts have gone through hell in order to give the best care they can to their mother. And The Savages managed to perfectly capture the wrenching emotional pains that people go through in this situation. It’s heartbreaking and tragic, and I haven’t quite seen a movie like it this year.

The last few shots of this movie are unforgettable and are almost guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye. I loved this movie to no end, and I want everyone to see it. You won’t regret it.

Rating: 9/10


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