Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) has passed away. With his death means the family will gather to mourn their loss. His wife Violet (Meryl Streep) could be considered distraught and alone. She depends on pain pills more than she should. She has mouth cancer that doesn't help the situation. As with any passing the funeral arrangements must be made. Family will come out of the woodwork sometimes just because they know food will be served after the funeral.
Violet though sees the coming of her brood in many ways. Her sister and her family will come to the house. Mattie Fae Aiken (Margo Martindale) and her husband Charles (Chris Cooper) along with their son "little" Charles ( Benedict Cumberbatch) will come for the funeral. Now the sisters haven't seen each other for awhile and if it was just her sister's family coming you would think that is enough. Others are coming, Violets daughter Barbara (Julia Roberts) and her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) will be there. Violets two other daughters Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) and Karen's fiance Steve (Dermot Mulroney) will be there for the funeral.
The stage is set and welcome to one of the most dysfunctional families to ever hit the big screen. Now once all the family is at the table you will see all the old hurts. You will be shown how the future is terrifying some of them. You see and hear how the loss of their father has overcome them. You see fighting and arguing, and you simply see the American family at it's best or it's worst whichever you may choose. Death brings the worst and best out of the family structure but in the end you realize that you are still family.
Director John Wells has brought us simply sometimes a contradiction of terms. In some ways we all can sit back and laugh I've been there. In some cases, we say this is not our family. Our family doesn't act like that. Funny thing is we all act like that. So sit back and see death in a familiar way and you decide whether this movie has touched you in that special way. Enjoy!