The Savages
Theatrical release poster by Chris Ware[1]
Directed byTamara Jenkins
Written byTamara Jenkins
Produced by
CinematographyMott Hupfel
Edited byBrian A. Kates
Music byStephen Trask
  • This is that
  • Ad Hominem Enterprises
  • Lone Star Film Group
  • Cooper's Town Productions
Distributed byFox Searchlight Pictures
Release dates
  • January 19, 2007 (2007-01-19) (Sundance)
  • November 28, 2007 (2007-11-28) (United States)
Running time
113 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$8 million[2]
Box office$10.6 million[3]

The Savages is a 2007 American black comedy-drama film written and directed by Tamara Jenkins. It stars Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Philip Bosco (in his final film before his death in 2018).

It had its world premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2007. It was released on November 28, 2007, by Fox Searchlight Pictures. It received critical acclaim. At the 80th Academy Awards, it earned two nominations: Best Actress (for Linney) and Best Original Screenplay (for Jenkins). At the 65th Golden Globe Awards, it was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy (for Seymour Hoffman).


After drifting apart over the years, two single siblings—Jon and Wendy, the younger of the two—band together to care for their estranged, elderly father, Lenny, who is rapidly slipping into dementia. Wendy and Jon first travel to Sun City, Arizona, to attend the funeral of Lenny's girlfriend of twenty years. When they arrive, they are told that Lenny signed a non-marriage agreement and will not have rights to any of her property. They then move him to a nursing home in Buffalo, where Jon is a theater professor working on a book about Bertolt Brecht. Wendy, a struggling playwright, moves from New York City to help establish their father in Buffalo.

Neither of the siblings is close with Lenny. It is implied that he was a physically and emotionally abusive father when Jon and Wendy were growing up and they cut him out of their lives. They were also abandoned by their mother at a young age. Their dysfunctional family life appears to have left Wendy and Jon emotionally crippled and unable to sustain relationships. Wendy is sleeping with an unattainable married man thirteen years her senior and Jon cannot commit to a Polish woman who must return to Kraków after her visa expires.

The siblings' visits to the nursing home and their father's eventual death allow them to reevaluate their lives and to grow emotionally. In the end, Wendy has broken up with her married lover but has adopted his dog, which he had planned to put down. She is also seen working on the production of her play about their childhood. Jon leaves for a conference in Poland where it is suggested he may reconnect with the woman he had let go. The film closes with Wendy running with her lover's dog alive, running with the aid of a wheeled hip cast, suggesting a mode of flawed yet persevering life for both siblings.



Filming took place from 10 April to early June 2006 in the Buffalo area of New York.[4][5]


Critical reception

The film received very favorable reviews from critics. As of October 21, 2020, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 90% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 173 reviews, and an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's consensus states: "Thanks to a tender, funny script from director Tamara Jenkins, and fine performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney, this film delivers a nuanced, beautifully three-dimensional look at the struggles and comforts of family bonds."[6] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 85 out of 100, based on 35 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[7]

Time magazine's Richard Schickel named the film #7 of his Top 10 Movies of 2007, and praises both the cast and writer-director:

These actors are unimprovable as, somehow, they find a certain decency under the pressure of their grinding familial chore, a reason to hope that slightly better days may be ahead for them once their duty has been done. Writer-director Tamara Jenkins is less interested in heroically inspiring us than she is in showing us the values to be found in the more modest forms of dutifulness.[8]

The film appeared on many critics' top 10 lists of the best films of 2007.[9]



  1. ^ "Chris Ware's 'Savages' Poster Is Gorgeous". Vulture. November 2, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  2. ^ Lim, Dennis (November 4, 2007). "Unblinking Look at Death Without Nobility". The New York Times. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  3. ^ "The Savages". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  4. ^ "'Savages' In Buffalo". CBS News. April 3, 2006. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  5. ^ McNeil, Harold (January 20, 2007). "Buffalo on the big screen 'The Savages,' filmed in Queen City, debuts at Sundance festival". Buffalo News. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  6. ^ "The Savages". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  7. ^ "Savages, The (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  8. ^ Schickel, Richard (December 9, 2007). "Top 10 Everything of 2007 - TIME". Archived from the original on December 12, 2007. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  9. ^ "Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 23, 2008. Retrieved February 25, 2008.
  10. ^ "2008 | | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences". Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  11. ^ "Central Ohio critics group picks winners". Columbus Monthly. January 13, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  12. ^ "2007 - Winners of the 20th Annual Chicago Film Critics Awards". Chicago Film Critics Association. Archived from the original on May 15, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  13. ^ "Winners & Nominees 2008". Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  14. ^ Guerrasio, Jason (October 22, 2007). "2007 Gotham Awards Nominees Announced". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  15. ^ Bruno, Mike (February 25, 2008). "Juno cleans up at Indie Spirit Awards". Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  16. ^ "33nd Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards". Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  17. ^ Oldham, Stuart (January 5, 2008). "National Society draws 'Blood'". Variety. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  18. ^ "Online Film Critics Awards 2008". Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  19. ^ "2007 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards". December 10, 2007. Archived from the original on December 19, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  20. ^ "Women Film Critics Circle 2007". Women Film Critics Circle. December 15, 2007. Archived from the original on February 10, 2015. Retrieved October 10, 2022.