2013. 121 Minutes. Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepherd, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Dermott Mulroney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin. Directed by John Wells. Screenplay Tracy Letts.
A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. (IMDb)
elizabeth: Humor can masterfully mask great pain, while great pain needs humor in order for the human spirit to survive. I went into this movie knowing that it wasn’t going to be a love fest, but a close look at what happens when emotional wounds do not heal and are left to fester and grow. For anyone going to this movie and believing that you are going to a see comedic piece with a brilliant cast (thanks to the moronic advertising campaign out here), prepare to be mistaken. There is really nothing funny about August: Osage County. It is the great American Tragedy. Whatever humor makes its way out of the muck is to keep the audience from leaving the theater screaming.
Nicole: Can I just give you a slow, praise-worthy round of applause here? That was so perfectly summed up, I don’t really have anything to add that could remotely do your description justice.
elizabeth: I could get use to idol worshipping, but I don’t think I will hear that from you again so I will just enjoy it now. Okay, I am over it…. There are enough twists in this movie to keep you on the edge of your seat. Just when I recovered from one emotional scene, out pops another one. What I found a bit frightening about this movie is that it is probably closer to reality then we would like to believe. I also found it interesting to see who I find to be a sympathetic character and I have to say that it was Meryl Streep’s Violet Weston – the matriarch in this dysfunctional family who is a pill-popping nasty bitch who suffers from mouth cancer and much more. And the one member that I would welcome into my family was Chris Cooper’s Charlie Aiken, a quiet man who kept secrets and kept the family together.
Nicole: On that count, we differ. I HATED Violet with a deep passion. I tried, I really did, to feel pity for her knowing her life was no picnic before she raised her family. But every single tragic thing that happened to this family was in direct relation to her anger and, by default, dependency issues. Her inability to deal with her past brought unnecessary ruin upon her kin. And my hatred bears testament to the incredible talent of Meryl Streep…who I could not respect more as an artist. The fact that she made me dislike her as much as I did proves how ridiculously talented she is. Allow me to just wax a little further on Streep’s acting prowess… She is able to do what so few actors are able to do…act by simply reacting. Every subtle nuance, every slight mannerism is so utterly realistic, she’s able to draw you in and make you believe she is that character. She has no equal.
elizabeth: This cast had to be the screenwriter and director’s dream team. You believe that these actors were members of this sad family. Everybody in this movie is strong and everybody in this movie is broken. Just like real life. And they all did a terrific job in making you wonder what happens next door to you. Or in your own home.
Nicole: Again, couldn’t agree more. From the small, but magnificent and pivotal role of Little Charles (played to perfection by Benedict Cumberbatch) to the weighty supporting role of Barbara (played deftly by Julia Roberts), this ensemble gelled in every which way – tackling difficult subject matter in a way I’ll never forget. August: Osage County was no walk in the park to watch. I did feel like I was punched in the stomach. And, yet, I’m grateful to have had the experience of watching it. Despite the fact that it’s no feel-good-film-of-the-year, it reinforces what great film making is all about.
elizabeth: And if Meryl Streep does not win the Oscar then something is really wrong in Tinseltown.
The Film Fatales give AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY