There’s drama, drama and more drama in August: Osage County! It has a stellar cast with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Sam Shepard, Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper and last but not least, those yummy men Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch. I will confess I’m not familiar with Misty Upham, Dermot Mulroney and Julianne Nicholson.
The synopsis of the story is woven around the disappearance of the father, played by Sam Shepherd; the gathering of the family in searching for him and the culminating explosion of personality clashes, secrets unearthed and self-righteous and destructive behaviour, amidst the searing heat.
It will be the biggest surprise if Meryl does not win an award for her scene-stealing role as the acerbic, commanding, pitiful yet tormenting matriarch of the dysfunctional Weston family. A role that was no doubt demanding, draining and challenging! Alternating between derision, scorn and contempt and yet at times, vulnerable, reflective and pathetic, Violet’s character is large and unforgettable and she ensures her daughters know that she ‘misses nothing.’
Julia Roberts’ role, almost as tough, is purported to have brought her back to the screen. She is now in the running for the Golden Globe award as a nominee for the best supporting actress. The part differs in so many ways from her previous roles with her trademark mega-watt smile and model looks. The audience would be challenged to even see a smile in this role.
While the two strong women dominate the screen in their own respect, the other cast members are impressive in their respective roles and keep the saga flowing along between a relentless pace and at times, pensive scenes. The story unfolds with unexpected revelations and surprising turns.
Ewan’s role as estranged husband takes a back seat to his wife, played by Julia, but he is credible in trying to salvage an already doomed marriage. In portraying a stumbling, bumbling, disappointing son, Benedict Cumberbatch must have found the part challenging and a vast difference from his previous roles. Juliette Lewis also gives a credible performance as the flighty, fast-talking, desperate sister, grateful to escape from the family clutches.
The surprising and yet resilient performance is one that unfolds through the middle sister, Ivy, played by Julianne Nicholson. While her gentle and selfless demeanour is challenged in the ‘catfish’ lunch scene, Julia and Meryl reportedly, also felt nervous about performing the drama-filled episode and consequently, all three shut themselves away, rehearsing the evening prior to shooting it.
All in all, the drama set in Oklahoma, in the family home with its gloomy rooms, taped up windows, heavy furniture and soaring temperatures, is a story that won’t easily be forgotten.
© Wendy Robinson 2014
It is hundreds of tiny threads of memories, which sew people together through the years. Despite, their mental separation they stay woven into that tapestry out of habit, emotion, obsession or fear. ~ Shannon L. Alder
You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. ~ Bishop Desmond Tutu