Wednesday, 12 March 2014

August: Osage County.

Yet another Oscar nominated film filled the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre Film Club slot. This time it was a movie that was nominated for two awards, one for Best Actress for Meryl Streep and the other was for Best Supporting Actress for Julia Roberts. Introduced by Audrey Young August: Osage County (2013) is an American produced black comedy drama which not only boosts the acting talents of Streep (who I am not always keen on) as the pill popping matriarch Violet Weston and Roberts as Barbara the eldest of her three daughters, but an unbelievable all star ensemble cast which includes Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis as her other two daughters Ivy and Karen, Ewan McGregor as Barbara’s estranged husband Bill with Abigail Breslin as there 14 year old daughter. Sam Shepard plays Violets husband Beverly while Margo Martindale plays Violets sister Mattie Fae and Chris Cooper plays Mattie Fae’s husband with their son little Charlie Aitken played by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Audrey explained that the movie had started life as a stage play, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for its author Tracy Letts who also adapted it for the big screen. Letts had previously written screenplays from two more of his stage plays Bugs (2006)[1] and Killer Joe (2012) both directed by William Friedkin but this time his work was in the hands of John Wells. Wells is best known for his work in Television and has only directed one feature film The Company Men (2010) that starred Ben Affleck.
'That' family dinner....
....with Violet Weston at  head of table!
Set in present day Pawhuska, Oklahoma in the very warm August of the title, Violets family descend on the family home when her alcoholic husband goes missing. The complete dysfunctional family are all verbally attacked by Violet, who is supposed to have mouth cancer, which does not seem to affect her evil tongue.  Meanwhile the rest of the family, sundry partners and children indulge in some pretty horrendous character assassination of each other. The family meal has to be heard to be believed!!   
A wee family discussion.
There are two things that make this film particularly worth seeing, the first is the calibre of the acting which is superb and Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee, who are responsible for the casting, deserves an Oscar nomination all to them selves. The second is the dialogue with Letts skilful lines exploding on the screen especially in the capable hands of Streep and Julia Roberts in what’s got to be one of her best roles since 2000’s Erin Brockovich for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress.  The movie is in fact a character study ‘par excellence’ and in Movie Ramble’s humble opinion one that’s worth a look.

[1] A ‘horror’ film starring Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon, who incidentally played the same part
in the play.  It probes the blurry lines between paranoia and nightmarish reality it’s an intense mind bending psychological thriller. A slow starter that builds up to a very disturbing finish.  If you like a spooky type thriller, your love this one.

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