Sunday, July 13, 2008

Laura Linney, The Savages

This was my first viewing of the film. I can totally understand now why people campaigned so much for Laura Linney back in the winter. It’s a crazy character, but fun to watch. For me it was kind of different from what Oscar normally gives.
approximately 92 minutes and 7 seconds
85% of the film

The Savages
A sister and brother face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father.
Hell, yeah:
Although this is just the second movie of Tarama Jenkins, you do manage to notice the direction – and in a good way. The screenplay is smart, both dramatic and fun. Philip Seymour Hoffman is excellent (he’s really becoming one of the best actors of his generation and has had a great year); he should have received an Oscar nom for playing Jon, Linney’s brother. It’s a very realistic movie, dealing with serious issues, it’s good to watch if you enjoy a smart drama.

Oh, no:
It’s grim sometimes. If you’re not in the right mood, you might find it a bit too uncomfortable.

Laura Linney, as Wendy Savage

The Good:
I bet it is fun playing a neurotic spinster. Linney makes it feel that way. I admit she had me from the first minutes. There’s a scene where Wendy calls her brother in the middle of the night to give some disturbing news she just heard about their father. The line and the reading of it (fast, hysterical, read as a fact) are representative for Linney’s performance: Jon, it’s me! Dad is writing on the walls with his shit! :))
Funny, sad, great chemistry with Hoffman’s more down-to-earth character.

Wendy likes to lie, Wendy has hopes and dreams, and lots of guilt that’s eating her. In some other hands, it could have been a sad melodramatic role, but Laura Linney has tones of talent and she knows when to make it fun, when to relax, when to take the spotlight.

The comedic part of Wendy starts with the gestures, including some funny looks that make her seem almost innocent.

But there’s also crying, sometimes in justified dramatic moments…

Sometimes in funnier situations, like when Jon confronts her with the fact that she has been stealing money from the government, by posing as a 9/11 victim.

The Bad & the Ugly:
I don’t really see any. The character has its dislikeable moments, but it’s not Linney’s fault. I do have to say though that in the Linney-Hoffman scenes, most of the times for me it’s Philip Seymour Hoffman who steals the show.

A very well-balanced performance and it’s not an easy character to play. I would like to give her 5 stars, but something tells me not to.
So I’m staying with . But still great anyway.

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