Saturday, February 1, 2014

August: Osage County

Plot: Violet (Meryl Streep) abuses both prescription drugs and her super-dysfunctional family. At the beginning of the film, her husband Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) commits suicide. Her sister and her three daughters come for the funeral with their husbands & boyfriends. What follows is conversation at the house between the women where they are very tough on each other, and justify it because they have had sad, sad lives.   [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Crazy, twisted people are more interesting than normal people, and these characters are exceptionally so, especially with this all-star cast and Pulitzer-prize winning writing from Tracy LettOsage County  was pretty great. Great because the acting was so good, and the emotion was so deeply wrought.

Meryl Streep's Violet is the central character, but because she was so deeply strange and usually high, Meryl's performance was showy and over-large. Better were the co-stars especially Julia Roberts, Margo Martindale, and Julianne Nicholson whose performances were more restrained and interesting. The script and dialog are clever enough to keep the emotions boiling.

Highlights of Osage Country are the great acting and the emotional content. The main characters were so melancholy, and they articulated their issues in a way that made the movie cathartic. I am a sucker for movies about death, heartbreak and loneliness. I also liked the girl-power ending of the child abuse scene. I liked how grand daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin) rolls up her car window to avoid saying good-bye to Barbara (Julia Roberts.) The story has enough depth that 121 minutes is not too long. 

On the negative side, the story starts slowly, the soundtrack is weak, and the set-design and photography aren't so great. 

Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor

Directed by: John Wells

Written by: Tracy Letts, based on the stage play

Rating: 3.5 stars: Best chick-flick of the year. A showcase of women actors.

More: Tracy Letts is a great writer, so why is the title is so terrible. The month of August is not important. Who knows where Osage County is?  Wanna know where Osage County is?  (Watch for the buffalo gif while the flash is loading.) 

Even more: I was very surprised Tracy is a male writer.