August: Osage County

Here’s a totally non surprising confession.

I. Love. Plays.

And musicals. But that live shit, on a stage? It is great. I especially love plays because the entire focus point of the play will generally always be people conversing with one another. No amazing special effects. Just acting and great dialogue. Mmm, great dialogue. I fancy myself a shitty writer. The only good part about my stories is the dialogue, so I think I need to write plays.

This is me blabbering on, and not talking about August: Osage County, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. So of course it was turned into a movie. Of course it was nominated for awards. And of course, I watched it.

Family
If you look closely, you will see a confused and bewildered Benedict Cumberbatch.

The year: Who knows. The month: Probably August. The location: Osage County, Oklahoma.

Why? Well, Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) has flown the coop, and left his house without notice. Known for being a drunk, he at least hired a maid (Misty Upham) to clean up the house. His wife, Violet (Meryl Streep) is extremely distraught. She has mouth cancer, and is addicted to a lot of pills, so she calls in her family during this time of woe.

We do have a big cast of people coming over. Of course her sister, Mattie Fay (Margo Martindale), is there, with her husband, Charles (Chris Cooper), and their son Lil’ Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch). Her youngest daughter, Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), still lives in the town, so of course she is there right away too.

The eldest daughter, Barbara (Julia Roberts), who left for Colorado, has brought her husband, Bill (Ewan McGregor), and 14-year old daughter, Jean (Abigail Breslin). Her middle daughter, Karen (Juliette Lewis), has brought along her new fiance, Steve (Dermot Mulroney), from Miami.

Lot of faces, lot of family, and a lot of time apart. It doesn’t help that very early on (not a spoiler), Beverly is found dead after he wandered away, so the family is now grieving. Perfect opportunity to air out grievances, abuse drugs, and tell people what is really going on, no matter who it hurts.

Death Laugh
“Oh, he died! Ha ha ha!” Creepy women, yo.

Let’s keep this short and simple, self. I gotta remind myself to not go overboard with these analyses sometimes.

I loved every character in this play. A lot of them are horrible people. But I loved every single one. Every person had a reason to act the way they acted. The movie explained the reasons for everyone eventually, and not much was left open by the end. Sure, there was a general “Where do they go from here?” but that one is completely fine and worth being left open ended. I loved every character, so of course I loved every person acting in this movie as well. They all brought something to the character, and conveyed information with more than just words and loud noises.

That’s right, this is a movie for people who like great acting and a decent plot, nothing more. The plot itself is of the dysfunctional family variety, and even by the end I was surprised to find out some of the secrets that were kept hidden. Sure, they made some plot lines a bit obvious and easy to figure out, but others came from quite far out of left field, it was a joy experiencing them all.

My only issue with the movie is that the beginning felt a tad bit slower, up til the funeral. Post funeral is where the movie really kicks it into high gear, and then stays at that level of intensity until the credits roll.

4 out of 4.

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