Sunday, December 29, 2013

August: Osage County

No matter whether you have religious denomination or not, you’ll probably go home after viewing Director John Wells’ August: Osage County and give thanks your family is not as dysfunctional as the Westons. 

Tracy Letts, who wrote the award-winning play, broadened it with an excellent screenplay adaption. 

With an August temperature hitting 108 degrees in this Oklahoma county, the dysfunctionality of the Westons is peeled like the skin of an onion and, just when it gets to the point of being too melodramatic, it tops itself with revelations that overcome such an objection.

And, just when I thought Cate Blanchett had the Oscar for Best Actress locked up with her performance in Blue Jasmine, along comes Meryl Streep with an equally fabulous performance as the out-of-control matriarch of the Weston clan.  I’ll have to think long and hard as to whom to give my vote.

Meryl is not alone in her greatness, here.  Julia Roberts’ portrayal of the eldest Weston daughter is worthy of a nomination as Best Supporting Actress.  And, it doesn’t stop there.  Chris Cooper, Julianne Nicholson and Benedict Cumberbatch are superb, as well.

The only problem with the film, unfortunately, came at the beginning with some choppy editing by Stephen Mirrione and the normally great Sam Shepard not giving or being directed to give the right amount of pathos to make his decision for suicide convincing.  I couldn’t help but wish Robert Altman was still around to direct this great cast.

Still, I give August: Osage County a 4+ out of 5.

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