The concise critics

August: Osage County

Year : 2014 Director : John Wells Running Time : 121 minutes Genre :
Movie review score

What’s it about?
When a family member dies, everyone gathers to pay their respects. They end up paying their disrespects.

What did we think?
Elizabeth says:  It’s hard to know where to look with this many powerhouse performances competing for attention. There’s Meryl Streep as the manipulative matriarch dropping acid-tongued truth bombs; Juliette Lewis as the eternally upbeat self-deluding youngest daughter; Julia Roberts as the bitter first child so used to copping family abuse that it’s hardened her to the ones she cares about most. But is it too much? This adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play has so much melodrama it almost requires a theatrical setting to work. The delicious, explosive dialogue needs to seep into the stalls to diffuse the emotional build-up, or the pressure cooker is in danger of exploding with too much force. If you like the sort of epically corrosive family dysfunction seen in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, then this film is a show-stopper. If not, well, this is gonna be rather uncomfortable for you, isn’t it?

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