August: Osage County
If you come from a dysfunctional family and the thought of getting everybody together at the home place makes you want to throw up, then this may be your “feel good” movie of the year. Because if watching this family interact doesn’t make you feel good about your home situation, then half of your family must be in jail and the rest split between rehab and psychotherapy. I know for a fact I left the theater thinking that watching my alcoholic Daddy pass out face first in the crowder peas was absolute family bliss compared to what goes on at the dinner table in this movie.
The movie is based on a play by Tracy Letts. It is about the Weston family who live on the plains of Oklahoma. Sam Shepard plays Beverly Weston, a writer who is an alcoholic. He is married to Violet, played by Meryl Streep. She has mouth cancer and is addicted to every pain medication you can name. Beverly goes missing and the three daughters come home to be with their Mom.
Julia Roberts plays Barbara the oldest, who has a 13 year old daughter played by Abigail Breslin. Barbara is separated from her husband Bill, played by Ewan McGregor, but he comes with her for support. Juliette Lewis plays Karen, who is engaged to an older man. The youngest sister Ivy is played by Julianne Nicholson and she is the only one that stayed in town. Violet is a hard woman and her parenting skills are brutal. This is not a parent who has spent anytime building up her girls’ self-esteem. There is not one flaw or mistake that they have ever made that she does not remind them of. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Little Charles, Ivey’s cousin. They are in love and searching for a way to tell the family. If you watch the BBC show Sherlock it is amazing to watch Cumberbatch play this character.
This is probably a better play than it is a movie. What saves it is the unbelievable performances of every actor.
Meryl Streep is awesome as a vicious, sarcastic, mean spirited pill head. Julia Roberts is great as the oldest child who is tired of putting up with her mom’s crap but at the same time is afraid she’s turning into a version of her. She also may have set the record for a woman saying the F word. Julianne Nicholson nails the broken youngest child who is stuck taking care of the mess. Everybody does exactly what they are supposed to do.
The movie is two hours long and Rated R for tons of language, sexual references, and drug use.
It is a very dark movie with glimpses of humor that save you from being too depressed.
My Score: 4 Buds along with 10 mg. of Ativan
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