A dark comedy, August: Osage County is centered around a dysfunctional family bound together by the skeletons in their closets. After news of a family tragedy, the Weston daughters must go back home to a mother they can’t stand and confront the myriad of problems that await.
TSB’s Movie Review of the Week Breaks Down `August: Osage County’
Meryl Streep, playing Violet Weston, should certainly be nominated for her performance as the doped up matriarch. Her moments of bittersweet recollection are equally matched with her violent verbal outbursts. Julia Roberts really showcases her acting chops as Barbara Weston, in her descent into becoming her mother, much to her dismay. Being the strongest and oldest of the three sisters, she slowly starts losing her grip as her own family is torn apart. Chris Cooper should have been nominated as the only semi-normal family member, though his wife’s behavior towards their own son begins to claw at their life.
Juliette Lewis, Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin and Julianne Nicholson were all adequate as other family members but, in comparison to Streep and Roberts, they were outmatched. Breslin’s and McGregor’s characters were written to be a certain way, and while I respect Tracy Letts, the screenwriter and the playwright, the characters were entirely too weak. Nicholson and Lewis play the other two Weston sisters and did fine jobs … but again, with the character writing and Julia Roberts’ more dominate persona, they merely pass by on the screen.
With all of that being said, it is still truly a ensemble film. If all of these people weren’t together going through the emotional and physical turmoil, this film wouldn’t work. This film is not for fainthearted, for it is a realistic film that showcases the effects of substance abuse and how it bleeds into the whole family unit. There isn’t always a clear-cut happy ending.