A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.
Violet Weston (Meryl Streep) has cancer and a propensity for pills and alcohol. She's a difficult woman to deal with and her husband has finally had enough. Violet's family gathers including middle daughter Ivy, youngest daughter Karen (with her new fiancé), eldest daughter Barbara (with her separated husband and teenage daughter), and her sister Mattie Fae (with her husband and son in tow). A family tragedy causes tensions to run high and secrets to come out. The Weston women will be forced to examine themselves and their lives whether they want to or not. Welcome to Osage County, Oklahoma in the sweltering heat of August. Written by
The play August: Osage County won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for its playwright, Tracy Letts. Sam Shepard, who plays family patriarch Beverly Weston in this movie adaptation of Letts' play, won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Buried Child (and was also a Pulitzer finalist in 1983 and 1984 for True West and Fool for Love, respectively). See more »
The sheriff's car bears an Oklahoma County license plate. Oklahoma County is about 2 1/2 hours away from Osage County. See more »
Life is very long. T.S. Elliot. Not the first person to say it, certainly not the first person to think it, but he's given credit for it because he bothered to write it down.
Now if you say it, you have to say his name after it. "Life is very long." T.S. Elliot. Absolutely goddamn right.
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Though nearly 40 minutes of Tracy Lett's Pulitzer Prize winning dramedy have been shaved for the screen version, "August: Osage County" still manages to deliver on the towering play's hearty laughs, gasp inducing shocks, and well earned tears.
While it is hardly the best adaptation of a play to a film, as much of the film still retains it's indoor, staging setting, it is boosted by some sterling performances of actors at the top of their craft. Chris Cooper and Margo Martindale are stellar, playing off each other with deft and precise timing. Julia Roberts has not had this good of a role in... ever, and she mostly delivers. Julianne Nicholson is both quiet yet fiercely determined as middle daughter Ivy. Sam Sheppard is amazing in the even more truncated role of the Weston family patriarch who goes missing, and Misty Upham is so good with so little to say as the young Indian woman, Johnna, tossed into a family in turmoil.
Of course the turmoil is led by the Medea-of-the-Midwest, Violet, played for every ounce by Meryl Streep in one of her most indelible performances ever. While viewers will surely be talking about the "infamous" post funeral dinner scene, the price of admission should be had for Streep's monologue late into the "second act," where she sits with her daughters on a swing set and discusses the worst Christmas ever: an acting class with the full gamut of emotion.
Viewers may be equally divided by spending 130 minutes with such unhappy people, but there are plenty of dark laughs in Letts' screenplay to alleviate the tension. And with actors these good interpreting the parts, "August: Osage County" is easier to swallow than some awkward family dinners we've all had to attend at some point in our lives.
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