Adapted from the award winning play of the same name, August: Osage County is a terrifically hilarious, yet exceedingly dark, family drama.
The all-star cast crams in the likes of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, and Misty Upham. Pretty much every one of these talented performers has a chance to steal the scene at one time or another, but none so much as the vicious pairing of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.
When their father Beverly (Shepard) goes missing, three sisters (Roberts, Lewis, and Nicholson) descend on their mother’s (Streep) home with their various relations and metaphorical baggage of all types in tow. As the time together wears on, we get a glimpse of how incredibly dysfunctional this family really is. Drug addiction, affairs, divorces, abuse, suicide, incest, and just plain rudeness to the nth degree are all brought to light and aired with all the subtlety of a rug being beaten by multiple broomsticks. And that rug raises one mess of a dust cloud. No matter what issues your family might have, I can all but guarantee that this one will make you feel good about yours.
As is to be expected with a cast like this, the acting in this play-turned-film is especially exceptional. Even in the duller moments (as well as the more disturbing) there is no looking away as these lunatics capture your full attention. The start of the film is slow and deliberate like the beginning of a roller coaster, only you can’t tell how high you’re going or see all the twists and dips you’re about to take until it hits full speed. If you have a little patience you are in for one jaw dropping ride. Depending on who you are and your tastes, your jaw may be agape with horror or hilarity, or (likely) both.
August: Osage County (so named for the setting in which it takes place) is a movie about a family, yes, and a comedy, yes, but it is not a family comedy, so be warned. This is a dark look at some of the most poisonous people on screen that you can’t help but laugh at for just how terrible they are. It’s a reminder that “at least your family isn’t so bad,” or, if they are (and I sincerely hope they aren’t) than it may serve as a wake up call or warning siren that you just might need to do something and get out of there while you still can.
If you have a dark sense of humor, don’t pass this one up.
Mrs. Hamster says:
“Eat the fish, &#@$*%!”
My rating: Four out of five hats
August: Osage County raises the curtain on 905 theaters, January 10