August: Osage county (‘august’ stands for the month in which the story takes place, so no need to dig any further for a more intricate explanation!) is a movie based on the play with the same name of the hand of Tracy Letts. The story tells of how a troublesome family reunites in the wake of a family member’s death, but the only thing that follows – after the pleasantries of a funeral – is the outbreak of a family crisis, even going so far as family members fighting with each other and spewing bad language.
The movie begins as a dark comedy and – believe it or not! – drama queen Meryl Streep is actually funny a few times. Sadly, this doesn’t last very long and after a short while, we get our last sarcastic joke. And then it’s all over. The movie takes on a darker tone and with every new scene, the viewer is subjected to the typical, melancholic Meryl Streep-drama powerhouse presentation. The end – surprise, surprise! – is black as soot and even a little monotonous without a single bright spot on the horizon.
The one thing keeping this movie afloat, are the characters and the wonderful cast that brings them to life!
Meryl Streep adds another great character to her already endless list of classic characters. She is in fact so annoying and irritating that, at times, you’d wanna strangle her yourself. She plays the part of the know-it-all mother of 3 daughters.
The daughters themselves are being portrayed by three wonderful leading ladies. Julia Roberts, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis hold their own against their Queen mother and it’s the ex-pretty woman who is by far the most compelling in her performance. Roberts plays a role unlike many other she’s played before! She stars as the oldest daughter and not coincidentally the one who dares the oppose her fierce mother figure.
The way the former Erin Brockovich shares the silver screen with La Streep is at the very least worthy of an Oscar nomination!
But wouldn’t you know, there are also a few men present. And they are just as culminating as the women. There is Ewan McGregor (who unfortunately enough has little or no impact on the story), Dermot Mulroney (as the filthy rich playboy with controversial ethical values), Benedict Cumberbatch (in the role of the sweet son although he come across as a little dimwitted) and finally the always amazing Chris Cooper (as the gentle but determined father figure).
It is especially the relationship between these two last characters, wonderfully played by Cumberbatch and Cooper that often drives the story forward in a more interesting way. The best scene of the movie – although probably not intended as such – is when Chris Cooper confronts his wife after she once again bad-mouthed her own son’s behavior. With the son being a honest-to-God good soul and the father seeing his son for what he truly is – suffice to say – that moment is a real tearjerker …
did you know?
Jim Carrey was considered for the role of Steve. The part eventually went to Dermot Mulroney.
Give it to me straight:
August: Osage county is based on a play and it shows in many different aspects!
Most of the story takes place in one location, namely the house. And the story is a dark and overall dramatic representation of a family who doesn’t very much like each other. That is why this movie is an actor’s movie – and it’s a good thing the casting is so phenomenal!
As a viewer, you get one great actor after the other and it’s this golden combination of acting talent that provides the movie its unique intensity! Which is why it’s a real shame that the story and the final act of the movie is of a rather questionable level. Ergo, you can only enjoy the acting in this movie! Everything else is pretty much a huge letdown …