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The Savages Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… an inherently unnerving humiliation-comedy … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The Savages is terrific -- a movie of uncommon appreciation for the nature and nurture that go into making us who we are, a perfectly calibrated drama both compassionate and unsentimental.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    I can't begin to count the ways in which The Savages pleased me, but the very best of them is the way Tamara Jenkins's comedy stays tough while sneakily turning tender.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    While the film is heart-wrenchingly sad, it also is mordantly funny, uncomfortably prickly and above all, unflinching in its depiction of a believable sibling relationship.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Both Linney and Hoffman are so specific in creating these characters that we see them as people, not elements in a plot. Hoffman in particular shows how many disguises he has within his seemingly immutable presence; would you know it is the same actor here and in two other films this season, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and "Charlie Wilson's War"?

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    It is more sad-funny than funny-funny, but Jenkins has enough empathy and wit to realize that even the sad parts are, somehow, funny.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Savages reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Affecting adult drama has mature themes, content.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this mature, darkly funny drama about an estranged family isn't kid friendly. There's cursing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), an adulterous affair, frank talk about sex and death, smoking, and prescription drug use (pills stolen from a dead person, no less). All of that said, older teens and adults may find much to admire in this thought-provoking story, which approaches a harsh subject -- the impending death of a neglectful parent -- with a gentle-but-honest touch.

  • Families can talk about why so many movies are about dysfunctional families. What's the appeal of watching characters with messed-up lives and relationships? Families can also discuss what it's like to care for ailing parents. Are the siblings' choices admirable or do they make lots of mistakes?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: A woman conducts a long-standing affair with a married man; a father rubs feces on a bathroom wall; adult siblings hesitate when faced with helping their estranged father -- who was emotionally abusive when they were children. Characters also lie and behave in other iffy ways (taking someone else's prescription medication, for example). But for the most part, everyone behaves as decently as they're able, especially Jon and Wendy, who take on the challenge of caring for their father despite the fact that he was no prince when they were growing up.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: No real violence, but some shouting among family members and some scenes depicting neglect of children.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A married man sleeps with a woman who's not his wife a few times; they're shown on a bed ostensibly naked under covers, and the woman takes off her top and sits around with just her bra and pants on while talking. A few references to "hard-ons" and the genital area and other frank sex talk.

  • language false5

    Language: Plenty of strong language, including "s--t," "f--k," "damn," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Signage for the nursing homes, as well as snippets from an ad. Bertolt Brecht's name is bandied about, as are foundations like the Guggenheim.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults smoke cigarettes and take prescription pills owned by a deceased person (one of the lead characters filches them).