Movie Review: August: Osage County [2013]

"Meryl Streep proves there are still great roles for "Meryl Streeps over 60" - Tina Fey & Amy Poehler at Golden Globes.

August: Osage County is adapted from a Tony Award winning play with the same name, by Tracy Letts, who turns out to be author of stage play too.

Weston family gathers after tragic loss of Mr. Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) who unexpectedly commuted suicide. A family of a dozen member, reunites to support eccentric matriarch Violet (Meryl Streep) who more suffers from mouth cancer then absence of her departed husband. Beverly and Violet had three daughters Barbara (Julia Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliette Lewis). Barbara is having hard times in her marriage, almost divorcing from long time partner Bill (Ewan McGregor). However, they both try, and sometimes overtry to be a good parents to 14-year-old Jean (Abigail Breslin) - a typical teenager willing to experience new things in her life as soon as possible. Violet's sister Mattie (Margo Martindale) joins them with her husband Charlie (Chris Cooper) and son Little Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch).

Beverly's death is not the biggest drama in this movie, because that massive family with such different people, who all have their reasons to be mad at each other, is simply tragic, a bomb that can be exploded in any moment for any given reason. And this obviously happens, easily.
Most talked part of the movie - dinner scene.

August: Osage County mostly concentrates on conflict between Violet and her oldest daughter Barbara, since everything turns into battle for title of family matriarch. But it never ends here, because suddenly the rest of family members are also involved in endless, crazy disagreements that perfectly illustrates any dysfunctional family around us.

It is very dialogue driven movie, with brilliant lines, smart chats and particularly interesting characters. I found Tracy Letts work to adapt the film quite impressive. I have not seen original play, still I'am quite sure it is descent on-screen transformation. Generally, films without visual spectacle, that you only have to listen, are not easy to watch. But this one was very dynamic because of those fresh dialogues. There are many layers that take you deeper and deeper in each character, discovering their interesting and unknown temper.

But there is nothing better in AOC than two female performances by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. Meryl as a dying alcoholic, who's incapable of lying and always tells truth, whether it's good or not, is absolutely stunning. She steals every scene she's in. Her emotions rave from extreme happiness to cry, despair and pain. Julia Roberts is no less good, if not better than her lead. Her character conflicts with everyone she gets in touch with - manipulative mother, strange daughter, husband, light-minded sister etc. Julia manages to gorgeously portray a woman trying to hold her family together. She as a supporting actress is the biggest category fraud of the year.

And the dinner scene - you have to just see it.

Everyone else is absolutely great, especially Margo Martindale, who'd be my choice as supporting actress if Roberts were lead. Also, Benedict and Julianne deliver a good and heartwarming performances as siblings who fall in love with each other. Chris, Abigail, Ewan and Sam - everyone deserves credit for their outstanding works, which comes down to this years greatest cast.

August: Osage County has nothing to do with technical work. It has no special editing, cinematography or even music. It is just a plot that plays in front of your eyes, in the most realistic and emotional way possible and it does not need any supporting features to make you understand the story. But anyway, it is one of the best movies you can watch in 2013 and it is one of the most pleasant two hours you can spend at the screen.

4 comments:

  1. I liked Chris Cooper much more than the two main ladies. In a film with so many over the top scenes his character seemed to be an actual person.

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  2. well, he was quite good, but he did not have such big moments, as leads. Julia & Meryl's characters were more complicated and hard to act, I think, and they dealt with it perfectly.

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  3. Fantastic review! I enjoyed this film immensely. Streep was brilliant, Roberts gave her career-best performance, and almost everyone else had the chops to match their talent. Loved it from start to finish :)

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  4. Thanks Ben. Absolutely agree!

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