August: Osage County: Review

Image from: hollywoodreporter.com

August: Osage County, based on the Pulitzer prize winning play by Tracey Letts, takes family dysfunction to a whole new level.

It takes place over a few days as the Weston family are brought back together to mourn the death of a family member. With each person bringing with them some form of emotional baggage with them including secret relationships and divorce, it’s not long before tempers flare and sparks fly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this on many different levels. Harvey Weinstein recently said it was one of the best things he’s ever produced and he’s absolutely right.

The screenplay by Tracey Letts is excellent, fleshed out with real characters and freakishly familiar situations. No matter how much you may think some of the characters may be unbelievable I guarantee at some point in the film you’ll find some kind of connection with at least one of them.

It’s also great to spend some time with female characters with actual personalities too who are at the forefront of the film. Three dimensional women who feel real, have flaws and are actually given stuff to do as opposed to fading into the background.

It has a strong ensemble with fantastic performances all round from the likes of Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindalea, Julianne Nicholson and Benedict Cumberbatch who despite his dodgy southern accent managed to give one of my favourite performances in the film.

It’s Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts who really make the film though, Streep in particularly as the pill popping matriarch who is at times tragic, horrible and dare I say likeable. Her performance is incredible to watch and I hope she takes away the oscar for best actress next month.
I loved the soundtrack and there’s some striking imagery throughout as the scenery and landscape almost becomes a character in it’s own right.

Once outside some people commented that it was a bit slow and they are right to a degree. You can easily see how it would work on stage with some scenes being dragged out for quite some time, the dinner table scene being the primary example. If you go into this expecting a talky film though you should find yourself completely immersed in it, I certainly was.

August: Osage County is overall an incredibly real and entertaining film with a superb screenplay, headlined by excellent performances. It shocked me and made me laugh hard throughout, more so than any other film has done in a while and for that reason alone I can’t recommend this enough. 

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