Monday, January 13, 2014
Movie review: Things get a little too dysfunctional in August: Osage County
The movie is chaotic, but the all-star cast is at its best.
No family is perfect, and the Westons are no exception. Violet (Meryl Streep) is addicted to pills and Beverly (Sam Shepard), her husband, is addicted to the drink. The two have been through hell and back again together, but Beverly just can’t take it any more. The whole family comes together to be there in support of Violet and attend Beverly’s funeral.
When you get a dysfunctional family together, it can only mean trouble. Sisters Barbara, Ivy and Karen try to keep the peace they don’t succeed, and everything crazy comes out.
The movie also stars Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbacth, Misty Upham, Will Coffey and Newell Alexander.
August: Osage County is based on the Broadway hit play by Tracy Letts that debuted in 2007 after a premiere in Chicago. This extremely successful play is now a star-studded movie that overwhelms the senses and hopefully leaves you thankful for the limited dysfunction of your own family.
RATING7/10 stars – The phrase "too much of a good thing" comes to mind here.
This movie is all dysfunction. I hardly had time to breathe in between the squabbling and drama on-screen. It can be overwhelming. Yet the theme and the emotions are certainly universal. Everyone watching this movie can relate to at least one part of the chaos, if not all of it. I do think, however, that the trailer and previews sell this movie to the audience as a playful comedy/drama, and that isn’t quite accurate. Sure, the dialogue is playfully written and entertaining, but it's dark comedy. Plus I couldn’t help feel that something was a little off and that it was less a film than a staging of drama. Considering it was a play, this only seems logical. But does that make for a good film? My opinion is still out on that, which is never a good thing.
The true greatness of this movie comes from the performances of the extensive list of talent. Streep is at her very best. She impressed me again with her ability to just embody a role so completely. Roberts is a bit of a show stealer. I still think Streep offers the best performance, but Roberts is a very close second. I have always been a fan of hers and I remember why now. She has real talent and it shows here as she matches Streep, freak-out for freak-out in this crazy, dysfunctional story. The rest of the cast does an excellent job as well.
Ultimately, I was tempted to rate this movie higher because of the award-worthy performances of its actors. The truth is, though, that I feel like the theme of the movie we have seen multiple times. Plus when it all comes down to it, I just wanted a little time to breathe in between the crazy moments. If I had that time, I think I would have enjoyed the movie a bit more. It was still interesting to watch, but not one I will be running out to watch again.
Pegasus News Content partner - Reel & Unscripted
A husband/wife team movie review blog! Can't decide what to watch? We'll help.