If you ever thought your family was dysfunctional, I dare you to sit down with the Westin family for dinner sometime: “August: Osage County” might just have you counting your blessings.
“August: Osage County,” directed by John Wells and based on a Tony Award-winning play by Tracy Letts, is a journey to the deep, dark recesses of family mayhem, which are the result of years of abusive behavior. Violet (Meryl Streep) is the foul- mouthed, doped-up, mean spirited matriarch of the Westin family, who is dying from mouth cancer (one can’t help but notice the metaphor between Violet’s vituperative and her mouth cancer); but as the movie progresses the viewer gets the impression that she wasn’t such a nice person to begin with. Her husband, Beverly’s (Sam Sheppard) choice of poison is whiskey, and it’s no wonder ─ his wife is latterly driving to drink.
When an unexpected death occurs in the family, the stage is set for a reunion of sorts for the Westin clan. Daughters Barbara (Julia Roberts), Karen (Juliette Lewis), and Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), gather at their childhood Oklahoma homestead in the sweltering August heat to attend the funeral, but healing appears to be the last thing on Violet’s mind. During the post-funeral meal at the Westin residence, Violet, in a pill-popping induced stupor, verbally molests everyone at the table, including Barbara’s husband Bill (Ewan McGregor), brother-in-law Charles (Chris Cooper), ‘Little’ Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch), and Karen’s fiancée Steve (Dermot Mulroney). The attack is both humorous and brutally malicious at the same time.
Once again, Merly Streep shows why she is the best in the business by dominating a film which is loaded with all-star actors/actresses. Julia Roberts puts in her finest appearance in a long time, and the rest of the cast is superb. August: Osage County was nominated for Best Picture this year, and I now understand why.
My Rating: 5 of 5 Percodan Pills.