August: Osage County (2014)

Based on the award winning play and adapted for the screen for Tracy Letts, August: Osage County boasts a stellar cast and focuses on a family all coming back together due to a tragedy, and offers a glance at their dysfunctional relationships.

Starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch and Julianne Nicholson to name just a few, all of the performances in the entire film are breathtaking, with Streep earning a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as the volatile mother who links the other characters together. The depth and strength of the character writing is wonderful, and it’s particularly refreshing to see such well developed female characters, and to allow their relationships to be explored on screen. None of the characters are very likable but that is partly what makes them so watchable on the screen, and enjoyable to learn more about. 

It’s clear that this is a film adapted from a play. At times it has a static quality and the sense of entrapment is clear, both for the characters on screen and for the film makers, something which manages to both work in the films favour and against it; in a sense the film is about being trapped by the family you came from and your past, so there’s a sense of metaphor here, but on the other hand there is a lack of directorial presence, and it tends to run like a play that has been filmed.

But most of all it’s an enjoyable and emotive two hours, with wonderful performances from all of the cast and a powerful story. Perhaps not family viewing, unless you’re trying to drop some hints about what you really think of them.

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