Saturday, 9 February 2008

the savages


I just got back from seeing "The Savages". In my current exhausted state, I stumbled into the cinema having forgotten why this movie had stuck in my consciousness as something to look out for. I sat down thinking, "Well, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney are always interesting."

Of course, within seconds I remembered that this was an unflinching look at dementia and caring. There was a LOT here that I recognised, both in the portrayal of the Father and in the conflicted behaviour of his children. I'm not sure what anyone who hasn't gone through this would get out of watching the movie, but I could feel a lot of issues being externalised and I blushed at times. I've been Jon, unwilling to get drawn in but ultimately both responsible and realistic, and I've been Wendy, neurotic with guilt about what she's done. I wish I could say it was cathartic to watch, but at least there wasn't some Hollywood solution that I'd missed in the real world.

It is a wryly comic movie, though. And the characters grew (slightly) towards the end. There's hope for me yet... as long as Tamara Jenkins is writing and directing my life (oh wait... my writers went on strike years ago).

ADDENDUM: I ended up going out again for the late showing of "Juno", which cheered me up no end - this year's "Little Miss Sunshine".

6 comments:

Matt said...

I want to go see noth movies now - I can't remember the last time I actually saw a movie at the cinema.

I hope you're well, Greg.

Greg said...

Some movies are fine to watch at home, others benefit from seeing with an appreciative audience. 'The Savages' I could have watched on TV, but it was great to share the quirkiness of 'Juno' with a couple of hundred laughing strangers. It doesn't always work out well, though. Last week I went to see "No Country for Old Men" and sat next to a very crass girl and her boy who ate noisy food and talked through plot points. At the end of the movie the girl loudly announced that the movie hadn't made any sense and was 'stupid'. Given the degree of violence I had just sat through, I could cheerfully have wiped them out in a Coen-inspired bloodbath.

It's a good thing we don't have so much of a gun culture in the UK...

Thanks Matt, I'm well. I hope you are, too.

Anonymous said...

Greg:
This isn't a comment about movies. I want to thank you for your blog. Much of it is familiar to me. My mom has been diagnosed with vascular dementtia since a bad stroke in 2001. I have no sibs to help with decisions or venting. I don't really know what I am trying to say here. Its just overwhelming. I just finished ordering clothing designed for "dementia undressers" for Mom. I feel like I just fell into a pit. . I knew alzheimer patients often had this problem , I just didn't imagine Mom & I would have to deal with it.

Greg said...

Hello there. You are very very welcome and thank you so much for commenting. I hope that reading the blog has helped you feel less alone with this. Perhaps the other blogs I've listed at the side will give you further fellowship. Venting really did help me A LOT, even though making all this public made me feel guilty at first. Feel free to vent here, if you like. It sounds like you're facing some issues that I've been relatively fortunate with so far, though my Mum IS showing some problems dressing (putting nightdresses on backwards, being unable to undo blouses or fasten a skirt). Things have changed so quickly in the past few months. Writing this blog helped me define and meditate on what exactly was going on, so that I was able to present a coherent case to the social services here, who've backed me up 110%. But, also, once I'd put a distressing incident up here, it was behind me somehow. I don't know how that works, but it helped. You might want to consider blogging, yourself, if you can spare the time. Otherwise, please come back and let me know how you're getting on.

Y | O | Y said...

Oy, I found The Savages really depressing! I did like Juno, though.

I do movie reviews on my other blog, y-oh-y.blogspot-com, which I don't think you read (although I did re-post The Savages review on alzmoments.blogspot.com since it was relevant to the subject). Latest review is of Persepolis that I posted yesterday.

Greg said...

Yes, I guess it was depressing, really. Thanks for the tip about your other blog. I've got 'alzheimers moments' on an RSS feed, so I usually catch everything, but I missed your 'Savages' review somehow. I'll check out your other side! I missed Persepolis here - it came through Leeds as part of a film festival and was gone before I picked up a brochure.

The thing I forgot to mention in my post was a point in 'The Savages' where the Father thinks the home is a hotel... ouch, Mum said that a couple of times after she moved into her place.