Valissa Smith is managing partner of www.itsallaboutHER.com, an online resource for women. She is a proud member of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle. You can watch Valissa's movie reviews Fridays at 11:00 a.m.on the KSHB-TV Midday Newscast.
If you have some family drama going on in your house, August: Osage County will either:
a) make you feel better because you’re not only the nuthouse on the block.
b) it will hit too close to home and feel like just another ugly dinner around the table. Or...
c) help you see that your family dynamics pale in comparison.
Meryl Street stars as the toxic, pill-popping Violet. A mother hard to love or even be around. Her three daughters have each found their own way to cope with their crazy mother. Big sister Barbara (Julia Roberts) and baby sister Karen (Juliette Lewis) have escaped the dreadful homestead leaving Ivy (Julianne Nicholson,) the middle daughter to tend to their mother’s mishaps. The burden has caused Ivy to put her own life on hold. But the other sisters haven’t exactly turned a corner with their own lives. Barbara is dealing with an unfaithful husband (Ewan McGregor) and a teen (Abigail Breslin) with major issues and attitude. Karen seems to be living between fantasy and naivety.
Just like most families, this one is a lot more complicated than what we see on the surface. Their father was a strangely, quiet man. Their aunt, Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale) has grown comfortable with Violet’s volatility, even adds to it on occasion. Mattie Fae’s husband Charlie (Chris Cooper) is about the only element of sanity to be found.
With a twisting plot about these three strange sisters and their family crisis, Meryl Streep’s flawless believability, and Julia Roberts’ gravity in this grown-up role, August: Osage County is one of my favorite films of the season. Really everyone’s acting is top-notch.
I’ve never seen the Broadway play this film is based from and I’m glad. Some of those who did were disappointed it wasn’t more like the stage version - a true dark comedy. Oh, believe me, this is funny... at times. But mostly it’s just drama that makes my family and yours look like Leave it to Beaver!
Arruga! = 0
Fidget Factor = 0
Age Range = 15 and up
(the language and drug use won’t throw any high schooler for a loop)
Overall Grade = A-