The humanization of “The Savages”
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The present work studies the film The Savages (Jenkins, 2007), the story of two siblings, Jon and Wendy, who, in the midst of their mid-life crises, find themselves needing to care for their elderly father Lenny as he begins to lose his mind. The narrative structure and the characters are first analyzed, in order to later develop the thematic dimension of the film. Other aspects regarding style and staging are considered insofar as they relate to the narrative structure, such as the brilliant dialogues or the eloquent silences that aptly convey the meditative tone of reflection that runs through the entire script. The movie indirectly criticizes the anomalous relationship that our society has with death. In this sense, it’s about the bureaucratization that has invaded the third stage of life, but also about the anonymity in which today, unfortunately very often, people die. It suggests that a society of broken families involves a disregard for children and eventually for the elderly. Jon and Wendy are “savage”, as their surname suggests; they behave like disoriented animals seeking redemption and humanity in the midst of an absurd society accustomed to such inhumane procedures that are no longer questioned. But the test they go through forces them to get out of their own worlds and reencounter and reconcile with their father and with themselves. At the end, the siblings have changed their perspective. They are more mature. What they have gained is humanity. It can be said that the idea which underlies the entire story is care humanizes, or more specifically, care of the elderly humanizes. Seen in another light, a society in which the elderly are not cared for is an inhumane, savage society.
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