2013 / Director. John Wells.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I have a soft spot for family reunion films, particularly those which feature strong ensemble casts.... and they don't get much stronger than AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts were both nominated for Academy Awards for their performances and both were deserved. The film revolves around an estranged family who reunite when their father goes missing. Animosities, incest and secrets collide in an explosive crock pot when the family's matriarch (Streep) levies a drug-fuelled campaign of hostility against every single person in the family. Emotions run high and limits are pushed... and all the while AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY maintains a deeply dark sense of humour and resists any pressure to toe a safe line. Streep and Roberts shine. They hold the film together and deliver outstanding performances and yet neither of them vie for the limelight. In fact they allow their supporting cast to weigh in with equally impressive turns. Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney, Benedict Cumberbatch and Julianne Nicholson are all solid contributors to this film, which could so easily have become convoluted... but never is. The other wonderful performance that ought not be forgotten is from Misty Upham, who plays the family's housekeeper. Sadly her real life struggles with mental illness lead to her suicide not long after the film was released. She was delightful in this film. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is a dark, funny and heart wrenching film that draws comparisons with THE BIG CHILL, EULOGY, DAN IN REAL LIFE and HANNAH AND HER SISTERS. Its emotional core is strong and thanks to uncompromising direction from John Wells its 2 hour running time is not an issue and the the story resonates stronger than most films of its genre.