BWW Reviews: AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, Cinema Release
We are currently spoilt for choice at the movie theatre. With The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle all at running lengths of up to three hours, you must make sure you leave room in your schedule for August: Osage County.
Cancel a first date, finish that presentation tomorrow and get an Orange Wednesday code, you won't be disappointed by this tour de force of familial drama led by a witheringly blunt Meryl Streep.
Streep plays Violet, the matriarch of the Westons, who is also suffering from cancer (and reluctant to give up her chain smoking habit).
Violet's husband Beverley (Sam Shepard) goes missing, prompting the estranged Weston siblings (Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis and Julianne Nicholson) to gather to search for their father.
The quarrelling sisters are supported (or hindered) by Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin and Chris Cooper.
This stellar cast was brought together by director John Wells: "We were lucky enough to have a rehearsal process within the actors' schedules where they could sit and share stories in the large house in Osage County which we actually bought. They could talk about how they act around their own families and we had time for detailed script analysis."
The screenplay and play, upon which the film is based, were written by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts, whose writing is based on personal experience.
"Tracy taps into familial archetypes," says Wells, "portions are autobiographical about what adult children are actually like."
Letts's play runs at 3 hours 40 minutes and without an interval the film does feel slightly long. However, there are some stand-out scenes including an awkward dinner party which results in a physical fight between Meryl and Julia - and how often do you get to see A-listers in a brawl?
With the weight of Harvey Weinstein and George Clooney as producers, Streep and Roberts could be well placed to take best actress and supporting actress at this year's Academy Awards, despite the stiff competition.
On general release now.