On The Edge Films

Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds

August: Osage County

august osage county

2014/ USA

Director: John Wells

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Sam Shephard, Benedict Cumberbatch


Funny, exhilarating and captivating, just some of the words I would not use to describe this film.

With the all-star cast that includes Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ewan McGregor August: Osage County falls short of something that could have been spectacular. There is a lack of empathy with the characters, as every single one of them fails to portray reality. Yes, some instances give you the odd laugh, but it needed so much more to convey exactly what it wants to.

Violet Weston (Streep) plays the mother figure in a dysfunctional family, with a drug addiction to painkillers due to the mouth cancer which she is suffering, this in turn makes her insufferable to live with, and leads to all types of routes this movie takes. Mostly stories about the past, talked about between her 3 daughters (Roberts, Nicholson, and Lewis). Although Streep’s performance is good, I wouldn’t say it was Oscar Nomination worthy as it was your typical dying old lady, going a bit mad, character we have seen countless times before.

Cumberbatch plays a simpleton, and like Streep, doesn’t really pull this character off, (his American Accent wasn’t too great either, yet was better than McGregor’s), stick to know-it-all confident characters in future Benedict. He has a whole different type of story to himself, it’s a strange one, and if you ever do go to see this, then I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

The story never really takes off, and drags on longer than it should, not really with any purpose. It could have ended at many points, and nothing would have been missed. It felt like John Wells was trying to hard to make a picturesque, beautifully shot movie that lacked chemistry between the actors who are involved. Perhaps this was on purpose, as the family portrayed have no chemistry between them.

There are few great laughs, and Sam Shepard and Chris Cooper pull off the funniest and most likeable characters, but that doesn’t save this film from the pure boringness of it all. The father couldn’t live with the family, and kills himself, and as you watch, it may make you realise why he did, and to do the same. The soundtrack is good, and the only reason I’m giving this 2/5. Stay until the end just for the Kings of Leon song, and you may say to yourself that is was worth watching.


-Zak Gibson


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