Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts (two of my favorite actors) coming together in a movie was a big treat for me. August: Osage County was the second brilliant performance oriented movie I saw recently and I must tell you Meryl Streep is top notch playing a dysfunctional woman high on drugs suffering from mouth cancer. If Cate Blanchett has any competition this year for the coveted best actor awards then it is from no one but Meryl Streep. Julia Roberts who plays Meryl’s eldest daughter Barbara fighting her own personal demons is someone who is going to fight hard for the Supporting role awards along with Jennifer Lawrence for her brilliant performance in ‘American Hustle’.
In ‘August: Osage County,’ when a crisis descends upon the Weston home, Violet (Meryl Streep) cries out for her daughters – or at least one of them – to help her through this difficult time. Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) was the one that stayed behind when her sisters escaped, but her devotion is little appreciated or acknowledged. Karen (Juliette Lewis) is the family screw-up, leaving her and her new beau (Dermot Mulroney) to be ignored at the dinner table. Barbara (Julia Roberts) is the most responsible, returning to pick up the pieces of her prescription-addicted mother. With the summer’s heat already putting everyone on edge, this gathering will be far from congenial.
The punches never stop coming in this picture. Whether it’s Violet spewing poison at her children or a deep family secret being unburied, they just keep exchanging one bad turn for another. Opening on the unhappily married couple, Violet does not even shield strangers from her venom as she walks in on her husband (Sam Shepard) acquainting a new caregiver with their situation. She pops one pill after another, claiming to be attempting to control cancer-related pain but generally just feeding her habit. And when she sets out one day looking for a fight, Barbara gives her one – literally.
Director John Wells does a great job converting a play into a full fledged movie and extracting wonderful performances from every member of the cast. On the whole, the movie although slow is a wonderful one to watch just for the performances.
My Verdict: *** Go for Meryl and Julia…