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"The Savages" ****

After a 9 year hiatus, writer/director Tamara Jenkins ("Slums Of Beverly Hills") tackles the heady topics of dysfunctional family and dementia and delivers one of the best, if not THE best, film I've seen in 2007! Proving once again that Oscar is clearly on his horizon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, so pitch perfect in the current "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead", shows once again why he is one of the best thespians around. Along with the always wonderful Laura Linney, they portray distant siblings who suddenly, together, must deal with the placement of their abusive mentally disintegrating father (wonderfully played by Philip Bosco) in a nursing home. The film succeeds in the reality of its script and acting where so many such films fail ("Away From Her" comes immediately to mind). Although many people might avoid it thinking that it hits too close to home and would be too painful to watch, the script is surprisingly humorous and human in its dealing with family dynamics and circumstances that are all too real in today's society. Tremendous!!!

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