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August Osage

AUGUST: Osage County

With  Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor,Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale,Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson

Written by Tracy Letts (based on his play)
Directed by John Wells

Based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize winning play, Streep and Roberts reunite after many years having played opposite one another in Steel Magnolias (both receiving Academy Award nominations for their roles in this).
When a once renowned, heavy drinking poet disappears, the estranged family descends on their home, his cancer suffering and prescription drug addicted wife the center of what becomes the explosion of many pent up family frustrations and conflicts. 

Regardless of several cast award wins, I found this to be a slightly trite, bitter piece with not many characters I want to identify with - not because I don’t want to face their personality traits’ possible existence within myself, but because the portrayal of the overall collection of miserable, disappointed people simply do not evoke enough sympathy or empathy - maybe because I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that is not as dysfunctional, irrational and conflicting as the ones in this film...  If the writer intended to have you feel alienated by these characters, then he certainly succeeded (using the Native American housekeeper as our eyes to witness this train wreck from within?)

I think this may have been more effective as a play, the focus in this movie version lying on the performances of the actors.

Inside an overtly comedic and satirical context like Everybody Loves Raymond or Family Guy, situations can be perceived as outrageous and funny, but there is very little underlying humour for me in August: Osage County (even if intended), merely feeling like a glimpse into a very sad, fragmented family unit - perhaps if you're in the mood to analyze acting performances, not when you're in the mood to be entertained.

2 / C
- Paul Blom

0 1 2 3 4 5 6
- A - B - C

6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temp.
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multiple Viewing Potential
B: Deserves Another Look
C: Once Should Suffice

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