The Savages (2007)

R | 113-114 mins | Drama | 2007

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HISTORY

In the opening credits, Tamara Jenkins’s credit, "written and directed by," comes immediately after the film's title card, rather than the more usual placement as the last credit before the action begins. The opening credits run over footage of the Sun City Poms, a group of elderly women dressed as cheerleaders and performing a routine. The Savages was Jenkins’s first feature film since her 1998 debut, Slums of Beverly Hills . The director, who described The Savages as a "coming of middle age" story in the press notes for its screening at Sundance, also said in a 4 Nov 2007 LAT interview that both her father and grandmother had suffered from dementia and died in nursing homes.
       A 29 Oct 2007 Var article provided the following information about the film’s production: Jenkins first wrote a five-page scene from The Savages in 1997. She later wrote the screenplay under a development deal with Focus Features, but Focus objected to Jenkins’s insistence on casting Laura Linney, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman, who had not yet achieved fame for his Oscar-winning performance in Capote (2005, see above). Focus released Jenkins from her deal, after which talent agency CAA made a deal with equity investor Lone Star Film Group to provide half of the budget. After Hoffman won the Golden Globe for Capote , Fox Searchlight put up an additional $4 million. Cooper's Town Productions is Hoffman's production company. Portions of the film were shot on location in Sun City, AZ, New York City and Buffalo, NY. An online source ... More Less

In the opening credits, Tamara Jenkins’s credit, "written and directed by," comes immediately after the film's title card, rather than the more usual placement as the last credit before the action begins. The opening credits run over footage of the Sun City Poms, a group of elderly women dressed as cheerleaders and performing a routine. The Savages was Jenkins’s first feature film since her 1998 debut, Slums of Beverly Hills . The director, who described The Savages as a "coming of middle age" story in the press notes for its screening at Sundance, also said in a 4 Nov 2007 LAT interview that both her father and grandmother had suffered from dementia and died in nursing homes.
       A 29 Oct 2007 Var article provided the following information about the film’s production: Jenkins first wrote a five-page scene from The Savages in 1997. She later wrote the screenplay under a development deal with Focus Features, but Focus objected to Jenkins’s insistence on casting Laura Linney, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman, who had not yet achieved fame for his Oscar-winning performance in Capote (2005, see above). Focus released Jenkins from her deal, after which talent agency CAA made a deal with equity investor Lone Star Film Group to provide half of the budget. After Hoffman won the Golden Globe for Capote , Fox Searchlight put up an additional $4 million. Cooper's Town Productions is Hoffman's production company. Portions of the film were shot on location in Sun City, AZ, New York City and Buffalo, NY. An online source adds Bob Huff, Elaine Huff and Alyssa Waldrip to the cast.
       The Savages had its premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and subsequently was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, AFI Fest and the Turin Film Festival. The picture received overwhelmingly positive reviews, with a number of critics praising its dry humor and lack of sentimentality. Newsweek critic David Ansen wrote, “There’s nothing mawkish about The Savages : Jenkins’s sweet and tart sensibility is located halfway between the compassionate satire of an Alexander Payne and the comic sang-froid of a Todd Solondz.” Manohla Dargis of NYT stated that although the film initially called to mind “another of those dreaded indie encounter sessions in which everyone cracks wise and weary on the bumpy road to self-actualization…. There isn’t a single moment of emotional guff or sentimentality."
       In addition to being selected as one of AFI’s Movies of the Year for 2007, The Savages was listed among the Top Ten Independent Films by the National Board of Review and was awarded Best Screenplay of 2007 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Jenkins received a Writers Guild of America nomination for her original screenplay. The film received the following Film Independent Spirit Award nominations: Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Male Lead for Hoffman. Hoffman was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture--Comedy or Musical. The Savages was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and Laura Linney was nominated for Best Actress. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Arizona Republic
21 Dec 2007
Section P, p. 1, 5.
Daily Variety
22 Jan 2007
p. 6, 14.
Daily Variety
8 Nov 2007.
---
Daily Variety
27 Nov 2007.
---
Daily Variety
30 Nov 2007
p. 4, 52.
Entertainment Weekly
30 Nov 2007
pp. 24-25, 114.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 2006.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 2006.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 2006.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 2007
p. 15, 25.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jan 2007.
---
Los Angeles Times
4 Nov 2007.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Nov 2007
Calendar, p. 1, 7.
New York Observer
3 Dec 2007
Section C, p. 12.
Newsweek
3 Dec 2007
p. 59.
Screen International
26 Jan 2007.
---
Sight and Sound
Jan 2008
pp. 83-84.
Variety
29 Jan 2007
p. 40, 50.
Variety
29 Oct 2007
p. 14, 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, Buffalo unit
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Steadicam op, Arizona unit
1st asst cam
2d asst cam/B cam 1st asst
2d asst cam, Arizona unit
2d asst cam, Buffalo unit
1st asst B cam, Arizona unit
Cam loader/B cam 2d asst
Loader, Buffalo unit
B cam loader
Cam dept intern
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Best boy elec, Buffalo unit
Elec
Elec
Elec
Elec, Arizona unit
Elec, Arizona unit
Elec, Arizona unit
Elec, Arizona unit
Elec, Arizona unit
Elec, Arizona unit
Elec, Arizona unit
Elec, Arizona unit
Elec, Buffalo unit
Generator op
Key grip
Best boy grip
Best boy grip, Buffalo unit
Dolly grip
Dolly grip, Arizona unit
Grip
Grip, Arizona unit
Grip, Arizona unit
Grip, Arizona unit
Grip, Arizona unit
Grip, Arizona unit
Grip, Buffalo unit
Still photog
Still photog, Arizona unit
24-frame playback
Dailies telecine
Film dailies
Cameras by
Cam and lighting equipment by
Filmed with
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dept coord
Art dept intern
Art dept intern
Art dept intern, Arizona unit
Art swing, Arizona unit
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec, Arizona unit
Leadman, Arizona unit
On set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser, Arizona unit
Prop master
Prop master, Arizona unit
1st asst props
2d asst props
Asst props, Buffalo unit
Prop asst, Arizona unit
Props intern, Arizona unit
Const coord
Const foreman
Key const grip
Const grip
Charge scenic
Lead scenic
Cam scenic
Scenic
Scenic
Scenic
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Cost, Arizona unit
Ward asst
Ward intern
Ward intern
Ward intern, Arizona unit
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
Music coord
Score mixer
Score rec eng
Score rec eng
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Prod sd mixer, Arizona unit
Boom op, Arizona unit
Sd utility
Sd utility
Sd utility, Arizona unit
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Supv dial ed
ADR supv
Foley ed
Sd eff ed
Foley artist
Foley eng
Foley rec at
ADR rec at
ADR rec at
Loop group coord
Loop group coord
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Post-prod sd facility
Post-prod sd facility
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff asst
Digital laboratory project mgr
Digital laboratory project mgr
Digital data conform
Digital VFX supv
Engineering support
Title seq des
Title seq des
Title seq des
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Makeup asst
Makeup asst
Makeup asst, Arizona unit
Key hairstylist
Addl hairstylist
Hair asst, Arizona unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting assoc
Casting asst
Extras casting
Extras casting
Extras casting assoc
Extras casting, Arizona unit
Casting intern, Arizona unit
Unit prod mgr
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod supv, Arizona unit
Prod liaison, Buffalo unit
Prod secy
Prod office coord, Arizona unit
Asst prod office coord, Arizona unit
Office prod asst
Office prod asst, Arizona unit
Office prod asst, Arizona unit
Dir/Prod intern, Arizona unit
Prod intern, Arizona unit
Prod intern, Arizona unit
Prod office intern
Prod office intern
Prod office intern
Prod office intern
Prod office intern
Post prod supv
Post prod consultant
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Post prod intern
Prod accountant
1st asst accountant
Payroll accountant
Post-prod accounting
Post-prod accounting
Post-prod accounting
Payroll services provided by
Scr supv
Clearance coord
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Loc mgr, Arizona unit
Loc mgr, Arizona unit
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc scout
Loc intern
Loc intern, Arizona unit
Parking coord
Key prod asst, Arizona unit
Prod asst, Buffalo unit
Prod asst, Buffalo unit
Prod asst, Buffalo unit
Prod asst, Buffalo unit
Prod asst, Buffalo unit
Key set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst, Arizona unit
Set prod asst, Arizona unit
Set prod asst, Arizona unit
Set prod asst, Arizona unit
Asst to Ms. Jenkins
Asst to Mr. Hope
Asst to Ms. Carey
Asst to Ms. Westheimer
Asst to Mr. Burke
Asst to Mr. Bregman
Caterer
Caterer, Arizona unit
Craft service
Craft service asst
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Transportation coord, Arizona unit
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
New York driver
Animals by
Animals by
Legal services provided by
Insurance provided by
Completion bond
Stage facilities
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt rigging
Stunt rigging
Stunt rigging
COLOR PERSONNEL
Digital scanning, film rec and digitial intermedia
Digital intermediate timer
Col science
SOURCES
SONGS
“Cheek to Cheek,” written by Irving Berlin, performed by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks
“On a Slow Boat to China,” written by Frank Loesser, performed by Eddy Howard, courtesy of Mercury Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
“Soldadi,” written by Rudolphe Gromis, performed by Orchestra Baobob, courtesy of Nonesuch Records/World Circuit, by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
+
SONGS
“Cheek to Cheek,” written by Irving Berlin, performed by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks
“On a Slow Boat to China,” written by Frank Loesser, performed by Eddy Howard, courtesy of Mercury Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
“Soldadi,” written by Rudolphe Gromis, performed by Orchestra Baobob, courtesy of Nonesuch Records/World Circuit, by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
“Sentimental Lady,” written by Bob Welch, performed by Bob Welch, courtesy of Capital Records, under license from EMI Film & Television Music
“I’m Sticking with You,” written by Lou Reed, performed by The Velvet Underground, courtesy of Universal Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
“I Don’t Want to Play in Your Yard,” written by Henry Petrie, Philip Wingate and Dick Manning, performed by Peggy Lee, courtesy of Decca Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises
“Salomon-Song” (from The Three Penny Opera ), written by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, performed by Lotte Lenya and the Sender Freies Berlin Orchestra, conducted by Wilhelm Bruckner-Reggebergt, courtesy of Sony BMG Masterworks, by arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
“Sitting by the Riverside,” written by Ray Davies, performed by The Kinks, courtesy of Sanctuary Records
“You Make Me Feel So Young,” written by Mack Gordon and Josef Myrow, performed by Hal Blankenship & Joan Jaffe, with Timo Elliston on piano and Saadi Zain on bass
“Two of a Kind,” written by Johnny Mercer and Bobby Darin, performed by Hal Blankenship & Joan Jaffe, with Timo Elliston on piano and Saadi Zain on bass.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
2007
Premiere Information:
Sundance Film Festival screening: 19 January 2007
AFI Fest screening: 9 November 2007
New York and Los Angeles openings: 28 November 2007
Production Date:
10 April 2006--early June 2006
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
28 November 2007
Copyright Number:
PA0001589921
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Digital; SDDS Sony Dynamic Digital Sound; dts Digital Sound in selected theatres
Color
Technicolor; Film provided by Eastman Kodak
Duration(in mins):
113-114
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
43278
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the desert retirement community of Sun City, Arizona, elderly Lenny Savage is eating breakfast when Eduardo, the home health worker who is caring for Lenny’s elderly, live-in girl friend, Doris Metzger, reprimands him for not having flushed the toilet. When Eduardo takes his cereal away and insists that he clean up after himself, the disgruntled Lenny goes into bathroom and writes “prick” on the wall with his own excrement. In New York, Lenny’s thirty-nine-year-old daughter Wendy uses her time at a temporary office job to apply for a Guggenheim fellowship to complete her “subversive, semiautobiographical” play about a brother and sister who grow up with an abusive father after their depressed mother abandons the family. When Wendy returns to her East Village apartment, she is visited by her married neighbor, Larry, with whom she is having an affair. Before going to bed with Larry, Wendy impulsively lies and tells him that she has just found out that her Pap smear results were not normal. After Larry leaves, Wendy notices her answering machine light blinking, and after listening to the message from Nancy Lachman, Doris’s daughter, saying that Lenny is having problems, Wendy phones her forty-three-year-old brother Jon in Buffalo. Jon is not overly concerned, but the siblings agree to go to Sun City to see their father. The following day, Doris is getting a manicure when she suddenly dies. Later, Wendy and Jon meet at the Phoenix airport. Jon is a college theater professor who has been working for a long time on a book about Bertolt Brecht. Jon says that Kasia, his girl friend of three years, has to move back to Poland because her visa ... +


In the desert retirement community of Sun City, Arizona, elderly Lenny Savage is eating breakfast when Eduardo, the home health worker who is caring for Lenny’s elderly, live-in girl friend, Doris Metzger, reprimands him for not having flushed the toilet. When Eduardo takes his cereal away and insists that he clean up after himself, the disgruntled Lenny goes into bathroom and writes “prick” on the wall with his own excrement. In New York, Lenny’s thirty-nine-year-old daughter Wendy uses her time at a temporary office job to apply for a Guggenheim fellowship to complete her “subversive, semiautobiographical” play about a brother and sister who grow up with an abusive father after their depressed mother abandons the family. When Wendy returns to her East Village apartment, she is visited by her married neighbor, Larry, with whom she is having an affair. Before going to bed with Larry, Wendy impulsively lies and tells him that she has just found out that her Pap smear results were not normal. After Larry leaves, Wendy notices her answering machine light blinking, and after listening to the message from Nancy Lachman, Doris’s daughter, saying that Lenny is having problems, Wendy phones her forty-three-year-old brother Jon in Buffalo. Jon is not overly concerned, but the siblings agree to go to Sun City to see their father. The following day, Doris is getting a manicure when she suddenly dies. Later, Wendy and Jon meet at the Phoenix airport. Jon is a college theater professor who has been working for a long time on a book about Bertolt Brecht. Jon says that Kasia, his girl friend of three years, has to move back to Poland because her visa has expired, and Wendy is surprised that Jon will not marry Kasia so she can stay in the country. When the siblings arrive at Doris’s suburban home, Nancy and her husband Bill inform them that Lenny has been moved to a hospital, adding that Jon and Wendy will have to find somewhere else for their father to live. Bill explains that the house belonged to Doris, and although she and Lenny had lived together for 20 years, they had signed an agreement to keep their property separate. Jon and Wendy go to the hospital, where they find Lenny restrained in bed. He is confused and belligerent, and the doctor explains that Lenny has dementia. After Jon leaves for Buffalo to make arrangements for Lenny's care, Wendy goes to Doris’s house, which is already on the market, and sorts through her father’s possessions, helping herself to a bottle of painkillers that had belonged to Doris. Later, Jon calls Wendy from Buffalo and says he has found a nursing home there that can take Lenny. Wendy checks the bewildered Lenny out of the hospital, and they board a plane to New York. In the middle of the flight, Lenny loudly announces that he has to go to the bathroom. As Wendy is leading Lenny down the aisle, his pants fall down, revealing his swollen ankles and baggy diapers. Jon picks them up at the airport and they drive silently to the nursing home, where a compassionate Jamaican nurse takes Lenny to his room and introduces him to his roommate. As they leave the nursing home, Wendy cries because Lenny does not know where he is, and says that she and Jon are horrible people. Jon points out that he and Wendy are taking better care of their father than he ever took of them. As she settles in for the night on Jon’s couch, Wendy peruses some nursing home brochures she found in Jon’s room earlier and finds one she believes would be better. In the morning, as Lenny indifferently participates in a group exercise class, Wendy and Jon meet with the nursing home administrator and are taken aback when asked about their father’s wishes regarding life-saving measures and funeral arrangements. They take Lenny out to a diner to discuss these matters, and Lenny, who thought he was staying in a hotel, is stunned to learn that he is in a nursing home. They return to Jon’s home and Wendy talks with Kasia, who accepts her imminent departure with wry resignation. The following morning, Jon cries while eating the breakfast Kasia has cooked for him, then drives her to the airport. Wendy’s forwarded mail arrives, and she tells a surprised Jon that she has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to work on her play. Later, Jon and Wendy go to a support group for people with family members who suffer from dementia. The counselor suggests engaging elderly relatives by sharing mementos from their past, such as old movies. The siblings host a movie night at the nursing home, where they screen The Jazz Singer . Lenny watches the film attentively, but thinks some of the characters are his parents and yells at the father for smacking him around as a child. The evening ends awkwardly when the scene of Al Jolson applying blackface offends the mostly black nursing home staff and some of the guests. The next day, at Wendy’s insistence, they take Lenny to Greenhill Manor, the high-end assisted-living facility whose brochure impressed her, for a preadmission interview. Lenny does his best to conceal his disorientation, but he cannot answer the interviewer’s questions. With no hope of moving Lenny to another facility, Wendy proceeds to redecorate his room at the nursing home, brightening it up with throw pillows and a lava lamp. The following week, Larry comes to Buffalo to deliver Wendy’s cat, Genghis. They spend the day together, visiting Niagara Falls and taking Larry’s dog, Marley, to the park. They end up in a motel, where Wendy accuses Larry of having a mid-life crisis. Larry replies that Wendy is betraying herself by forsaking real intimacy for an affair with a married man, and she furiously walks out on him. Wendy is still in a bad mood when she brings Genghis to stay with Lenny at the home, and she is comforted by Jimmy, a sweet-natured Nigerian orderly. They sit in his van to share a cigarette and talk, and Jimmy asks to read one of Wendy’s plays. Later, Jon tells Wendy that the Guggenheim Foundation announced the names of its fellowship recipients, and her name was not on the list. He says he then called the foundation and learned that Wendy has been rejected eight times. Wendy, who lied about the grant because Jon has been dismissive of her work, reluctantly admits that she has collected disaster assistance benefits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the grounds that temp work was not available after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Jon reproaches her for taking the money, and the siblings argue angrily. Late one night, Jon gets a call saying that Genghis got into a fight with the resident nursing home cat. Wendy goes to collect her cat and visits with Jimmy, who tells her that he liked her play but found it sad. Wendy impulsively kisses Jimmy, but he gently tells her that he has a girl friend. Later, Lenny’s condition declines, and Jon and Wendy keep vigil at his bedside until he quietly passes away. The siblings return to Jon’s home and pass the night in wordless sorrow. The next day, Wendy takes the bus back to the East Village. Larry comes by with flowers and sadly tells Wendy that his beloved Marley is scheduled to be put down the following day, explaining that fixing the dog’s bad hips would require surgery and a difficult recovery period. Wendy tearfully embraces Larry but does not go to bed with him. As Larry is walking away, Wendy calls after him and says she wants to ask him a question. Six months later, Wendy’s play is in rehearsal at an Off-Broadway theater, and she watches a scene in which a little boy, whose father is beating him, floats above the room. Jon, who is also watching the rehearsal, is greatly moved. Outside the theater, Jon tells Wendy he is about to leave for Poland to deliver a paper on Brecht and will meet up with Kasia while he is there. Later, Wendy goes running by the river, accompanied by a happy, recovering Marley, whose back legs are in a brace with wheels. +

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Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
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