I didn’t know this before last week, but as soon as the film started, I realized August: Osage County is based on a play. Lot of name actors, every major character has a monologue at some point (which is like chum for actors). The basic story is one that’s familiar: a parent dies and all the members of a very dysfunctional family return home, which quickly devolves into the airing of everyone’s grievances with each other.
The reason this story (and movie) work as well as it does lies in how well it’s written, and how well the ensemble works with each other. I knew who the ‘headliners’ were, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch turn up for quick turns as supporting characters in the story. This film is owned by Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep though. It’s a worthwhile dramatic turn for Julia, who the story goes wanted to work with her idol.
As far as Meryl Streep goes, I mean, what else is there to say? If there was ever a case for the Academy giving a still working actor a Governor’s Award as a not too subtle way of suggesting they’re stealing nominations and maybe awards from other actors, then the Best Actor Alive should be the one who gets that trophy. The part is almost a little too theatrical at times (until you remember this comes from a play), but I was still impressed by the performance. Still, after everything she’s done as an actor over the years. Minimum, that Oscar nomination is a lock.
I’m sure we’ll be talking about this one again before awards season is over…