Movie review by Rashid Irani: August Osage County suffers from lethargic pacing

Direction: John Wells
Actors: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts
Rating: ***

A warts and all snapshot of a dysfunctional family, Tracy Letts’ script, adapted from his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play, is enhanced by an all-star ensemble led by Meryl Streep, who is brilliant in her portrayal of a cancer-stricken, acid-tongued matriarch.

After the sudden disappearance of her husband (Sam Shepard), an alcoholic poet, their three widely-dispersed daughters return to their mother.

The visit is unsettling, with the daughters’ husbands/boyfriends and kids adding to the pent-up familial tensions. Shades of Woody Allen’s Interiors?

August Osage County suffers from director Wells’ lethargic pacing. In fact, the confrontations come to a boil during an elaborate dinner scene. That’s when mommie dearest targets the eldest daughter (Roberts) snapping one-liners at her. With all the fury of a harridan, she then tears into the rest of her clan, boasting “Nobody slips anything by me”. The rest goes downhill. Still, just for Roberts and Streep, this …County is worth a visit.

 

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