August: Osage County

Posted on January 11, 2014


August: Osage County – Fantastic cast and incredible acting.  Based on a Pulitzer-prize winning play, it’s the story of a dysfunctional family to the extreme.  It feels like you’re watching a play, too.  Matriarch Violet Weston (Meryl Streep) loves her three daughters almost as much as she loves vicodin, oxycontin, valium, etc.  Daughter Barbara comes back to Oklahoma when dad (Sam Shepard) leaves home.  Her marriage is failing; she has a sulky teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin) who you want to backhand. 

The relationships of Aunt Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale) and Uncle Charlie (Chris Cooper), sisters Karen (Juliette Lewis)  with fiancé  Steve (Dermot Mulroney); and Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) with first cousin Little Charlie (Benedict Cumberbatch); Barbara’s husband, Bill (Ewan McGregor) all mix together for a glimpse of reality.  You either have an immediate family member or an in-law  who’s like at least one of these characters.  When Violet tells her daughters a story of how her mom played an awful trick on her one Christmas, you understand a little of why she is the way she is, and you see Streep at her finest.

 Labeled a black comedy, it’s very funny – I admit to having a twisted sense of humor. I t’s also sometimes pitiful, sad and pathetic – just like a lot of families.  Do we inherit meanness and cruelty or do we become who and what we are because of our environment?