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19 February 2014 @ 08:33 pm
Picoreview: August: Osage County  

Picoreview: August: Osage County is a story about a wildly dysfunctional family, with an absolutely dreadful matriarch played by Meryl Streep and–primarily, although really not at all singularly–her personal war with her oldest daughter, played by Julia Roberts. The real skill of the performances is that although many of the characters are just awful people, they’re all *understandable*. At moments they’re all even sympathetic, which, given how dreadful most of them are, is pretty impressive.

There are possibly no mis-steps with the casting (I don’t personally like Dermot Mulroney or Juliette Lewis, but they’re both well cast in this, particularly Lewis); Chris Cooper is as easy to love as he ever is, and I found Benedict Cumberbatch’s against-type casting to be fairly inspiring.

It is, IMHO, the best thing Julia Roberts has ever done (and I like her, so I don’t mean to be damning with faint praise there). She’s raw and wounded and angry and very good. Meryl Streep is not only (of course) terrific, but ironically, in her short, cancer-patient hair scenes, I think she’s also as beautiful as she’s ever been.

Storywise, there’s a revelation in the final act which, given the circumstances already illuminated by the film, is to me an action that is nothing short of malicious cruelty. There’s no reason for it at all except to damage the people who least deserve it…which is of course entirely the reason, given the characters in this story. It’s also a catalyst, in a roundabout way, for Roberts’ character to make some necessary choices, but of all the back-stabbing things done and said in the movie, this one at the end is what changes the story from a drama to a tragedy.

It’s a movie well worth seeing and it is, in fact, less depressing than I thought it would be.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Alix (Tersa): Hazel-Rah (tersa)tersa on February 19th, 2014 08:02 pm (UTC)
Hsm. When I saw my first ad for that movie, I thought, "Good God, everyone is in it" but I didn't have a real desire to see it.

Your review may tip it into the 'Netflix rental' pile.
kitmizkit on February 19th, 2014 09:13 pm (UTC)
Everyone *is* in it, and everyone is *good* in it. I really do think it's worth seeing, even if they're all awful people. :)
Kevennkevenn on February 20th, 2014 02:27 pm (UTC)
I freaking LOVED this movie! I saw the play on Broadway starring Estelle Parsons (Roseanne's mom on the TV show) as Violet, the part played by Meryl Streep, and she was MAGNIFICENT! I had to see the touring cast because Estelle Parsons wouldn't let the role go, and I had to see her in it again.

I was worried that the movie would white-wash the play, but I think it did a fantastic job at capturing the intensity of the play. And yeah, Julia Roberts was really EXCELLENT in the film. And I thought Juliette Lewis was really great as well. It's definitely one I will be owning.
kitmizkit on February 20th, 2014 03:26 pm (UTC)
I can't blame her for not wanting to let the part go. It's the role of a lifetime (unless you're Meryl Streep, in which case it's merely one of about twenty roles of a lifetime @.@ :)). I'm *enormously* envious that you got to see the stage play, and extremely pleased to hear that you, having seen both, thought the film did the play justice.

I don't know what it is about Juliette Lewis that sets me off (I'm not crazy about any of the family, really), but she can act, and she was really very good in the role. Cool. :)
Kevennkevenn on February 21st, 2014 02:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, the play develops the relationship between Johnna & Jean, so that her defending her makes even more sense.

But yeah, that role of Violet is the role of a lifetime! There's really not a bad role in the whole show...maybe the sheriff - who actually comes back in the last act or so. I felt in the play, the time that Barbara stays with her mother taking care of her by herself with none of the other family there is a lot longer. She begins to date the sheriff guy again and try to move on with her life after her husband takes her daughter back home. I understand why they trimmed this in the movie, because they wanted the focus to be more on the relationship between Violet and Barbara.

I don't have any real opinions of Juliette Lewis, but she was good in this. :
kitmizkit on February 21st, 2014 02:53 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. That's a completely different ending than what the movie implies.
Kevennkevenn on February 24th, 2014 04:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, she still leaves like that in the play - but you feel like she's going to live her life for the first time ever - completely free.