August: Osage County Review: Battle of the belles | SWITCH.




By Jess Fenton
29th December 2013

I love it when plays are transformed into big screen adaptations. After years of tinkering with the script night after night, by the time it ends up in a film director's lap, it's damn near perfected - now all it needs is the perfect cast. Already a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by actor Tracy Letts (that guy from 'Homeland'), nothing but the best was needed to bring Osage County and the Weston family to life, and the best of the best it got.

Director John Wells ('The Company Men') has assembled the Avengers of great actors with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts fighting it out for supremacy - purely on camera of course.

After a tragedy in the family, the three Weston sisters descend on the Oklahoma home they grew up in to be by the side of mother, matriarch, drug addict and cancer sufferer Violet (Streep). Their mother is a nasty, cruel woman made all the more bitter due to her addiction, and with a house filled with her children, husbands, fiancés, sisters and cousins, no one is safe from her sharp tongue or keen eye for digging up skeletons.


Set only over a few days and in almost a single location (much like a play), with nowhere to hide and not much to do, this is the mother of character studies. Fascinatingly written by a man, the story focuses on five women, with the men being merely minor secondary characters. The dialogue is sensational, written with layer after layer, it's primed with fully-formed three-dimensional characters that are utterly engrossing. Streep and Roberts devour the script and chew up every inch of scenery with their epic verbal sparring and rich dynamics. Juliet Lewis, Julianne Nicholson and Margo Martindale round out the ladies with equally impressive yet subtler performances that make this film a sight to behold.

A strong player in the upcoming award season that's already choc-full of amazing female actors and performances, if the look of 'August: Osage County' hasn't already captured your attention, see it simply to stay ahead of the game.

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