August: Osage County

If you’ve ever thought you had a dysfunctional family, think again and go see August: Osage County. Not only will you realise that most likely what you have at home is a hundred times better, but you’ll also see two Oscar-winning actresses fight like mud wrestlers.


Based on the play by Tracy Letts, the plot follows the Weston family as they unite in the wake of Beverly Weston’s (Sam Shepherd) disappearance. Mother Violet (Meryl Streep, unrecognisable) is a drug addict who has developed mouth cancer, fuelling her addiction. Father Beverly is an alcoholic poet. Daughters Barbara (Julia Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliet Lewis) all bring their own (family) issues to the table. Add an over-the-top aunt Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale) and uncle Charlie (Chris Cooper) and you get one cuckoo lot.


Between Barbara’s cheating husband (Ewan McGregor) and moody teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin); Karen’s new beau (Dermot Mulroney) and Ivy’s sudden attraction for little Charlie (Benedict Cumberbatch), Violet doesn’t know who to shout at first. Convinced her emotional blackmail and hostile comments are nothing more than “truth-telling”, Violet doesn’t realise that she’s slowly driving away those she loves most.


The movie is well done and the fact that it was a play shows a lot: long scenes in one place with plenty of dialogue, more tell than show, only a few scenes of powerful movement…

I saw the movie at the Coronet cinema in Notting Hill. For those who haven’t been, it’s an old theatre with balconies. We sat there and the entire room alternatively erupted in laughter, clapping or a well-placed “ooooooooh”. A great movie to watch if you like food for thought.


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