The next chapter in my road-to-the-Oscars, is my review of “August: Osage County” and while it’s not nominated for any big rewards in regards to Best Picture, Best Director or Best Adapted Screenplay, it has been celebrated for its acting, with nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Scroll down to see my thoughts!
What’s it About?
In a small, rural area in Oklahoma, live a destructive couple, the alcoholic Beverly (Sam Shepard) and his pill-popping wife Violet (Meryl Streep). When Beverly goes missing, the entire family return to help support Violet, including her similarly complicated and strong willed daughter Barbara (Julia Roberts). However, being brought together by tragedy doesn’t bond the women, but unleashes secrets and lies that cause the family dynamic to further collapse.
Adapted from a stage play, August: Osage County does indeed follow the acts that a play has and has a very theatrical tone to it. It’s perhaps most important to praise the acting first and foremost. Meryl Streep gives a very unique performance, it’s one I haven’t seen her in before, her character is downright despicable and unlikeable and it’s thanks to Streep that we feel that way, she is purely fantastic in this role.
Julia Roberts also gives a very different performance than what we’re used to seeing. Gone are the days of Roberts-Romcom’s and Julia is proving the critics wrong by giving a fantastic portrayal of Barbara, whilst directly going head to head with Streep, which is extremely difficult but Roberts manages to more than hold her own. The rest of the supporting cast all give flawless performances, especially Julianne Nicholson, who is arguably the least-well known out of this star-studded cast but manages to shine in a role you perhaps most feel for. Also, I have to add that Margo Martindale is, as usual, great in the role she’s given.
Now we get down to the story, at times it does feel like you’re watching a 2-hour-long special of “The Jerry Springer Show” what with all the constant force-fed melodrama this family has. Although when it comes to the drama itself, the story gives us some surprising twists and turns as well as some moments we were completely expecting (mainly with Breslin’s character).
Overall, I had to say I really enjoyed August. I thought it definitely had the best cast performance I’ve ever seen. There were no weak-links at all. Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts are certainly at their best as are the rest of the actors.
I’d recommend this if you’re a fan of “actor movies” where the acting is front and centre but you may find yourself feeling as though the narrative it too messy.