August : Osage County

August : Osage County (John Wells, 2013)

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.

Without much introduction this try-out to reach many Oscars nominations at the 2014 Ceremony, the movie earned a leading nomination for Meryl Streep and a supporting one for Julia Roberts, reminded me of a sad recognition of Ingmar Bergman’s Cries and Whispers. The later film, a masterpiece, would forever shadow August : Osage County except for the strong performances from its actresses and actors. With Juliette Lewis, Juliana Nicholson, Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Dermott Mulroney, Sam Shepard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Cooper, Misty Upham, and Margo Martindale at least we have performances from those A-list actors that deserves the mention of a nice ensemble cast. Too bad, the story isn’t that much well told and the film suffers from the lack of empathy we can feel for any character in this tragic story.

Apart from the sheer confrontation of the many characters between each other and their abusive relationships, this family film is far from the feelgood movie genre. I don’t, however, want a film to be happy or hopeful, but I want a little humanity in the characters I invest time in. In fact, the dysfunctional family pictured reminded me of my own family on my mother’s side. Still, a family that dysfunctional as the Weston is only fictional because this kind of confrontation, abusive, and unhappy family would have been completely apart and they would not have had such a long history. People get sick of situations such as those and children don’t suffer long at the time they come to adulthood and just left those behind.

Well, after all the drama is done and all the damage we are left with a sour taste of a sad family that you never want to revisit again especially if they are your in laws. It demonstrates how the film is okay to watch for the aforementioned performances, but other than that, it is not something you want to own and showcase on the altar of your collection of movies.
Too bad because as the original play was highly acclaimed, the feature film never meet expectations and fell a bit offshore. Worth a look but nothing to write to your mother about.

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