The Savages

The Quiet Love of Siblings: Brothers and Sisters in ‘The Savages’


Wendy has fantasies of setting up Lenny in bucolic quarters in the mountains of Vermont where he can live with independence and comfort. But given the level of Lenny’s dementia and their lack of resources, Wendy has to let go of those dreams and settle for the facility Jon selects, which is far more modest, in Buffalo, with costs covered by Medicare. Another director might have tried to seize the dramatic content of such a conflict, as there’s no downplaying the seriousness of what it means to provide comfort and care to the beloved elderly one’s family. Jenkins, however, brings the funny rather than the dour. When Wendy and Jon take Lenny to a high-end facility for an interview to see if his mental acuity meets their criteria for admission, Wendy attempts to coach her father into giving the correct answers to such questions as “What city are you in right now?” That Lenny doesn’t know is sad, but Wendy’s earnestness to help him cheat is, somehow, delightfully absurd. Jon gets annoyed at his sister, but recognizes the difficulty she’s having with the situation and gently lets her be.