Sunday, April 27, 2014

August: Osage County (2013)

     August: Osage County (2013) [D: John Wells. Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney] Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts received several nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. The film was nominated for other awards and won a few round the world. If I cared about the characters, I’d care about these awards and nominations. But the main characters are nasty, mean, self-centred, self-pitying, self-justifying, callous – after watching this film, you’ll no doubt be able to add to this list. They really don’t know what they are living for. People without a sense of meaning in their lives aren’t likely to behave well. Maybe that’s the lesson of this movie.
     Story-line: A family gets together when the father (Beverly Weston, an alcoholic academic poet) kills himself after putting up with his awful wife (Violet) for too many years. There’s a lot of “truth-telling”, but not the kind that leads to self-discovery and through that to healing. I can see that for many viewers, the portrayal of severe family dysfunction will have its awful attraction, and for some will recall painful memories. I’m not in either of those groups. The movie began to bore me almost at once.
     Watching Streep and Roberts do their bravura performances had a certain interest, in fact all the actors (and director) did an amazing job with what is an awful script. This showed especially in Streep's performance, in which you could often see her pulling the strings of the puppet. She's a great actor, but this time her technique was showing. The movie’s adapted from a play, the kind that some theatre buffs mistake for “serious” drama because it shows ugly people doing ugly things to each other using ugly language. It left me with a couple questions: Who is Tracy Letts, and why does he think that profanity makes for a strong script?
     Should you watch this film? Only if you like to see people torture each other. *

1 comment:

Helga said...

I agree 200% H