August: Osage County

January 27, 2014 0 By Fans
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A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

Release Year: 2013

Rating: 7.2/10 (859 voted)

Director: John Wells


A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

Misery loves family.

Release Date:

Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $25,000,000


Technical Specs


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User Review


Rating: 8/10

Before I even start to talk about John Wells' new film "August: Osage
County," I have to say I've never seen the stage play or read it by
writer Tracy Letts. Following the screening, I felt it was important to
disclose. An all-star cast is assembled, all which have individual
moments to shine, which is surprising with a cast this size, and for
the most part, the film succeeds on multiple levels. Sure to be
divisive, "August: Osage County" is tenacious and beautifully
constructed. Soulful and unafraid to show the gritty and ugly of the
American family, Wells' film is utterly compelling. A must-see for the
awards season. An instant Oscar contender.

From the top to the bottom, this film exists and succeeds by its
performances. At the top of the heap and best in show is the stunning
and beautiful Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts. Her turn as Barbara
Weston is in the top three performances she's ever delivered. Roberts
dives into herself in a way we haven't seen since "Erin Brockovich."
The narrative fully turns on her character and in the final half of the
film, she pulls the train through to the station. I'm incredibly
impressed with her work. Roberts is a revelation and reminds the world
how good she really is. A sure-fire Oscar contender.

As Violet Weston, a role played by Deanna Dunagan on Broadway, there
were high expectations to see what 3-time Academy Award Winner Meryl
Streep would bring to the role. For the past few years, I've begged for
Streep to "dirty it up" and play a role like this. A drug-addicted
matriarch who a gutter mouth lets Streep give a fresh take on a
character. Her performance is middle of the road for what Streep has
delivered in her career. That can mean different things to different
people. Middle of the road for Streep could be the best of any actor. I
walked out of the theater feeling the same way I felt following the end
credits of "Doubt." Streep excels in many areas of acting, but I feel
when it comes to stage adaptations to the big screen, Streep doesn't
live in the character as comfortably as she would in any other role.
There are times that the role does go a bit over-the-top. That being
said, Streep is still plenty great as she's been in other roles as of
late. She inhabits lots of Violet's beats and mannerisms and gives
dynamite exchange with some of her co-stars. It's a performance that
will surely land her another Best Actress nomination.

Trying to pick any of the supporting characters to single out is like
trying to pick your favorite child. Margo Martindale as Mattie Fae is
ballsy and spunky and its good to see an actor of her caliber finally
getting a chance to rip into a role like this. Her character reveals
the film's darkest secret which gives her an edge over some of her co-
stars, which Wells directs masterfully with DP Adriano Goldman.

I could eat Benedict Cumberbatch up with a spoon. As "Little Charles,"
he definitely has the narrative's most sympathetic story but more
importantly, in a film that is full of despicable people, he manages to
pull the audience in to root for him, even when you know he's doing
something terribly wrong.

I've longed for Juliette Lewis to get back in Oscar's graces following
her nomination over twenty years ago in Martin Scorsese's "Cape Fear."
She as dynamic as we've seen her in the last few years, delivering her
best turn yet as Karen. A true professional. Ewan McGregor continues to
elevate himself as one of our finest actors working today as Bill,
Barbara's estranged husband. As someone who is on the opposite side of
the rational spectrum when compared the Weston ladies, McGregor stands
out as a positive take. Unfortunately, he only gets one scene to really
let loose in a memorable manner.

I can recall being floored by the work of Julianne Nicholson in the
little indie that no one saw, "Flannel Pajamas" nearly seven years ago.
I've never fully revisited her work since despite stints on
"Conviction" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." As Ivy, the one sister
that stayed behind, Nicholson embraces her natural and simplistic
mannerisms that give her role a much-needed arc in the narrative. In a
perfect world, we would be looking at Julianne Nicholson for serious
Oscar consideration.

Brief but all too clear as perfection, Sam Shepard ignites his brief
screen time as Beverly Weston, the patriarch of our family. Same could
be said for Misty Upham as Johnna, our Native American housekeeper
sitting as a silent observer.

Academy Award winner Chris Cooper shines when he takes on sensitive and
accessible performances. With a tough exterior but a soft and loving
emotional center, Cooper acts as an sentimental pillar to our tale. If
there is room for a man in an Oscar lineup from a film dominated by
women, he is likely it.

Director John Wells has a strong hold on the material. He understands
where he wants the narrative to go, putting an emphasis on the story
and letting any directorial styles take a backseat. It's definitely
appreciated in a story that has so many moving parts. Writer Tracy
Letts adapts his own play and in the second half really stretches out
his legs as the story takes shape for certain characters. The first
thirty minutes are rough. The dialogue isn't as quick as snapping your
finger. Some monologues run a little long and there are a pair of
instances where I checked out of the story for a moment.

The Weinstein Company have quite a gem on their hands. Lots of heart
and laughs, "August: Osage County" has the year's best cast ensembles
and is one of the year's best films.

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