The Starz Denver Film Festival opens Thursday evening with "The Savages." For Boomers who are beginning to deal with aging parents, a movie such as "The Savages" should prove both painfully and humorously relevant. For details about opening night see the Festival's Web site.
"The Savages" was one of the best films I saw at January's Sundance Film Festival. It's a carefully mounted, observant look at two grown siblings (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney) dealing with a father who's suffering from severe dementia. You probably need no reminding that Hoffman and Linney are first-rate actors, and you'll find both in top form as Jon and Wendy Savage. Jon, a noted Bertolt Brecht scholar, teaches theater at the university level; sister Wendy works a day job, but aspires to be a playwright.
I'll have more to say about "The Savages" when it opens later this year, but for now know that the movie shows that writer/director Tamara Jenkins ("The Slums of Beverly Hills") understands plenty about brother/sister dynamics and the difficulties of dealing with an aging parent, particularly by adults who haven't entirely shed the psychological residues of childhood.
And while we're on the subject of the Starz Denver Film Festival, I should -- in the interest of full disclosure -- note that I'm being employed by the festival to moderate several of this year's panels. I'm also conducting a series of Podcasts during the festivals. The first (already available) are interviews with festival organizers, posted as a way of helping you get oriented. The second wave of Podcasts will consist of interviews with various filmmakers as the 10-day festival unfolds. Listen in.