REVIEW: August: Osage County

After the disappearance of a family member, a family is reunited at the mother, Violet (Meryl Streep), of the family’s house. With all-star cast, the family finds out the person missing has died, the film follows the family as they try and stay together over the weekend of the funeral. 

Although, Violet is one of the main characters – and also the main source of the problems every family member has – the first part of the film feels slow and annoying to watch and is all about the mother: we only look at her and how she feels, and it’s not until later on when we finally get to discover and understand how the other family members feel and the problems they have too. It should be pointed that this annoying point with the film is not aimed at the actors, where some will think it’s just about Streep, it’s not, the problem is the beginning plot/script. Things only start to get more interesting when the family arrives and sits together for a meal after the funeral of Violet’s husband, Beverly (Sam Shepard). The meal starts awkward and then becomes chaotic because Violet has a dig at everyone. From Uncle Charlie (Chris Cooper) laughing at the idea Jean (Abigail Breslin) mentions that ‘when you eat meat you eat it’s fur’ – which to be honest her theory behind it was interesting and thought provoking –  to cousin Little Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch) trying to tell everyone that he and his cousin (who is one of Violet’s daughters), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), are in love and together, the dinner scene is great because it’s the family bickering you’d expect to see at a family reunion – it’s realistic and believable. Ok not every family has cousins who are in love – so forget the plot for this –  but it’s the scripting, the characteristics and the acting that make the scene connectable to the audience and superb. It gets better when one of the daughters, Barbara (Julia Roberts), who is Jean’s mother, kicks back at her mother.

There are moments when it looks like things will get better but ‘Oh No!’ something happens to make it worse. There’s a scene where the three daughters are chatting and it looks like they are having fun until their conversation turns and they don’t agree and argue. With this sort of film – a drama about family – you’d expect it to go either a) the family hates each other, then something happens and at the end they see eye to eye or b) – which this film takes – the family hates each other, then something happens and they hate each other even more. Though there are some funny moments, some touching and sad moments – nothing gets resolved and partly answered. Though, one should not expect the film to reveal everything and get you to want more, this film doesn’t solve anything unless you count the fact that more secrets are made and others are discovered.

Overall, the acting is good and the problems each character has are also good  yet the problem is that the situations are just thrown in your face and not one little thing has changed from before except the father (Violet’s husband) has died, secrets have been revealed and the daughter (Ivy) who used to look after Violet, has moved away. There are some funny moments and sad moments but the overall statement of the film – and what happens – doesn’t strike well.

August: Osage County: 6.2/10

Favourite line:

During the dinner scene, Little Charles has kept quiet throughout the arguing.

Little Charles (Cumberbatch – stands up): I have something to tell.

Violet: It speaks.

Favourite moment:

When Barbara, Ivy and Violet are arguing about their problems and the fact Violet won’t get the fish, Barbara focuses on arguing with Ivy and Violet stays quiet. Ivy in frustration throws her plate to the side. Barbara says (something along the lines of) ‘that’s great, let’s just throw things’ and then throws her plate. So then, cheekily, as Violet doesn’t want to eat hers, she picks the plate and smashes it on the floor.


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