AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
Run time: 130mins
Director: John Wells
Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sam Shepard, Juliet Lewis, Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale and Dermot Mulroney
Synopsis: August: Osage County tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.
August: Osage County is a dark and comedic, Pulitzer-prize winning play by Tracy Letts which was first performed at the illustrious Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago and is now adapted by Letts for this all-star film ensemble cast.
In this tale of a deeply troubled family, the cancer-stricken, drug addicted, vicious tongued matriarch Violet Weston is played by Meryl Streep in another immaculate Oscar-nominated performance.
A funeral has forced the family to reunite for one of those ‘car crash’ dramas that you can’t look away from as this explosive group bare secrets and lies and long held resentments and disappointments surface – particularly round a dinner table. As the old wounds reopen, Violet directs most of her ire and bile towards her three daughters, Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), Karen (Juliet Lewis) and principally, Barbara (Julia Roberts) also Oscar-nominated for best supporting actress. Barbara has moved away and now returns with estranged husband, Bill (Ewan McGregor) and teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin). Her sister Karen (Juliet Lewis) and fiancé Steve (Dermot Mulroney) with Violet’s sister Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale) and husband Charles (Chris Cooper) complete the core group. Later – having missed the funeral ‘Little Charles’ (Benedict Cumberbatch) arrives and is a catalyst for more revelations.
The setting – the plains of Oklahoma in the stifling, sultry end days of summer – reinforces the claustrophobic image of the “sweatbox” Weston home.
The superb ensemble cast convince in this bleakly funny and cynical family drama, but ultimately it is the collisions between Violet and Barbara that are most memorable, full of pain and retribution. It ends on a note of some self-awareness, with insight and hope for Barbara at least.
Images courtesy of Entertainment Film Distributors