August: Osage County: Meryl Streep Goes Full Monster

August: Osage County: Meryl Streep Goes Full Monster

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY Starring Streep and Roberts as people you will hate.

In August: Osage County, Meryl Streep finally goes full monster. As Violet Weston, the cancer-ridden matriarch of the Weston clan, she sucks cigarette smoke through a mouth full of cancer and spits poison at her nearest and dearest. When her husband disappears after one of their routinely vicious fights, she summons her three daughters home to her side, setting the stage for an epic, toxic, and thoroughly entertaining family showdown.

Violet has a pill addiction and a mean streak, and her daughters have coping mechanisms: Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) is withdrawn and self-sufficient, ditzy Karen (Juliette Lewis) bounces from man to man, and while Barbara (Julia Roberts) seems to have the strongest claim to normalcy, she's also the most like her mother (this is a bad thing). As the three sisters try to figure out what to do with their sick, aging mom, Violet rails furiously against their intervention, forcing the sisters to confront the limits of their own relationships.

If you require movie characters to be "likable," give this one a pass; the few tolerable characters (played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Cooper) are steamrollered by the oversize personalities of the Weston women. These people are awful: They say terrible things to each other, make each other unhappy on purpose, and have elevated passive-aggressive and vindictiveness to an art form.

Often, miserable characters make for miserable movies. But Osage County, which was adapted from Tracy Letts's Pulitzer Prize–winning play, is in the Tennessee Williams school of storytelling—not because we're dealing with a cast of seriously dysfunctional, heat-addled alcoholics, but because of the sheer melodramatic pleasure it offers. When Meryl and Julia go at it, it's like watching two drag queens fight—wigs are strewn. Letts's screenplay is surprisingly funny, and the cast delivers all-in performances, anchored by Streep's ferociously monstrous turn. Likable? No. Perversely fun? Absolutely. recommended

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Bauhaus I 1
Streep is always - to put it mildly - enjoyable, but this is the first movie of hers in a long time where I watch her and I forget I'm watching Streep. Her performance is one of the most miraculous things I've ever seen. From what well...where does this remarkable woman get these characters? It's mystifying that she can nail - really nail - so many different types of women.

The BAFTA nominations were announced today and she wasn't even nominated. Julia was, but Meryl was not. That's pretty mind-blowing. The British Academy voted to nominate Amy Adams in American Hustle over Meryl. What can you say but, "Whatever."
Posted by Bauhaus I on January 8, 2014 at 2:08 PM · Report this
Not typically drawn to this kind of angst...but i'll go to see as much of Osage County as I can...I'm from there, my family still lives there and "the Osage" can be a tranquil place, especially if you leave people out of the equation.

In the county, the talk is that this movie is loosely based on the Drummonds, yes of Ree fame. They're one of "the" families in the county, but there are plenty of other people in the county that could fit these characters!

I'll go to see my mainstreet, see if I recognize any of the extras, and see if they capture some of the Osage.

I'm sure I'll be pleasantly surprised with the repartee.
Posted by osage2112 on January 9, 2014 at 6:56 AM · Report this
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Feel good movie of the year. Great post-holiday reverie. I am dead serious. AMAZING. If you are a fan of Tennessee Williams go AT ONCE. Says above reviewer, "these people are awful" and to that I say: YAWN. This is theater, people- we're not picking spouses. Bring it on!! This cast blows it out of the park. Just don't be afraid to laugh and root for the characters...for all the wrong reasons.
Posted by mooglitz on January 12, 2014 at 11:05 PM · Report this
I hate to say it, but this particular Stranger reviewer seems out of her depth. The whole point of the film is that the characters are miserable, hurt wrecks. That is quite simply the motivation for the entire PLOT. PLOT=MOVIE. If they were "likeable" there would BE no movie! aye caramba. Give the movie a "star" for pete's sake.
Posted by mooglitz on January 12, 2014 at 11:31 PM · Report this

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