“Life is very long”
I had no idea John Wells’ August: Osage County was a Pulitzer-winning play before seeing the new movie starring Meryl Streep as the drug and alcohol-addicted mother Violet Weston coping with mouth cancer and the recent suicide of her husband (Chris Cooper), but apparently this one was a stage act once upon a time, written by Tracy Letts (the title is named after a poem written by Howard Starks). And you know what? It surprised me. As in: I absolutely loved every second of it. The film is gorgeously shot among the many landscapes of Oklahoma and really has you relating to this crazy family as they all come back to Osage for an unexpected funeral.
As everyone arrives at The Middle of Nowhere, the three sisters finally come together again to relive the dysfunction of their mother. Personalities collide, especially the three sisters’ Barbara (Julia Roberts), Karen (Juliette Lewis), and Ivy (Julianne Nicholson). And you can bet the bickering and good ol’ sibling rivalry comes about, a classic scenario present at any family gathering.
Streep’s performance as this wilted and crazy mother brings much lightheartedness despite her dwindling memory from long-term effects of various prescription pills, subsequently causing some hurt feelings via harsh criticisms (you know, the typical mom stuff). Her dancing shamelessly wasted to records, barking out constant inappropriateness (like calling her own daughter an ugly lesbian), and always seeming to accept her fate as an ugly old woman (according to her women don’t age well!).
Weird things are constantly happening, especially when Karen’s fiancé from Miami who drives around a big red sports car blasting “Livin La Vida Loca” is around (he hit on a 14 year-old). There’s also a rising curiosity of Karen among family members because she is 50 still living at her mother’s. She’s convinced that she is in love with her cousin Little Charles Aiken (Benedict Cumberbatch) (that SPOILER: turns out to actually be her brother). So let’s just say sometimes some weird stuff goes down in the boonies.
August: Osage County doesn’t really feel like a Hollywood movie (probably because it’s in O-O-O-Oklahoma), but it is undeniable that this one lucked out with an outstanding cast. Everything was so elegant from the beautiful simplicity of the country all the way to each renowned actor’s natural talent flowing as they made up this crazy bunch.