August: Osage County

Director: John Wells
Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch
Year: 2013

Based on the play of the same name, August: Osage County is the story of a dysfunctional family coming together after the suicide of another family member. The film follows the strong-willed women of the Weston family, converging at the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional women who raised them, to grieve the death of a family member.
At the head of the household is the Violet Weston, played by the flawless Meryl Streep, proving once again why she is always an awards contender. Suffering from cancer of the mouth, Violet is addicted to pain pills and medication, popping them whenever she can. Her daughters, Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), Barbara (Julia Roberts) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) all live in other areas of the country, their own lives a mess. One going through a divorce, another engaged and the other in love with her cousin.
It is arguably the meatiest role that Julia Roberts has had in years, one she doesn’t hesitate sinking her teeth into. Her and Meryl are able to play off each-other brilliantly, showcasing the depth of their detrimental mother-daughter relationship. Roberts doesn’t show off her wide, bright smile as in her other roles. Barbara is weary, bitter, shrewish. A good change of pace.
Some aspects are hysterical, others hard to watch because of its raw reality but the film is compelling, though it leaves us feeling like we are eavesdropping on a battlefield, rather than a family home. The performances from all are to be commended, each playing their part in this puzzle perfectly.
It is possibly the best bad time you will have this year.

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