Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I’m special, boys and girls, and I’ll tell you why. Where everyone else does their research and talks about the history of August: Osage County, and about its roots in stage theatre, I’m going to talk about the story as a man who has only seen the movie and not the play, nor even knew what the story was about beforehand. Gasp! I know, I know, I’m uneducated about the story, I have no right to talk about it! In my honest defense, I am a movie critic, I don’t review plays, and I certainly try my best to stay away from comparing two different versions of the same story. That includes a movie based on a book, based on a famous true story, on a play, on a TV show, or even if it’s a remake or reimagining, I don’t care. I might touch on a few details here and there, but they don’t ever reflect my score of the new movie, since creative freedom is practically a right I would politically vote on. August: Osage County is definitely a movie I was looking forward to seeing, for whatever reason, and did it disappoint….yeeess and no.
Gather round as I take you down the journey of August: Osage County – a film with practically no direction but phenomenal acting around the map. The story is about Violet Weston (Meryl Streep), a cranky old drug-addicted coot that led her husband to leave the house without saying a word. After this, she calls together a family reunion of sorts to help sort out what exactly happened. For the most part, it’s just one big dysfunctional family drama with one weird problem after the next.
So my little mini review was that it was “a film with practically no direction but phenomenal acting around the map” which I think in a sentence sums it up, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. I say “no direction” because the movie starts out on a good note and talks about an old man leaving his home with no real reason. Okay, a taste of mystery sprinkled onto the beginning. I won’t spoil you too much, but I will say that question is answered fairly early on in the film, and the rest of the movie is just a bunch of weird issues, family rivalries, drug problems, and so on and so forth. It wasn’t exactly going anywhere. It could end at any given moment, it was just….a dysfunctional family drama.
Now, the second part of my mini review was on the great performances. Oh my God, the performances were off the map good. I cannot even begin to explain how amazing everyone was. The casting was brilliant, the chemistry was unquestionably perfect, and the actual performances themselves were well-developed and diverse. This movie had some of the best all-around acting I’ve actually seen in 2013, and that feels so random given how I feel about the rest of the movie…which I’m not really fond of.
Let’s review…heh…a review inside of a review: reviewception. Basically – the movie had an amazing cast and all did exceptionally well at their performance. The writing was perfect in terms of showing us real people with real problems that practically anyone could relate to any one person, making it a diverse viewing experience. It went over a bunch of important topics like mother/daughter and sibling relationships, age insecurities, drugs, addictions, crises, and plenty others that I won’t mention on here. Meanwhile, there’s no real story progression. It’s not going anywhere. I have no real reason to keep watching past the performances, and performances alone cannot save a film…but if they are good enough, they can keep the film’s head just above the water.
What I will say: August: Osage County is a good movie. It has unbelievable performances by a really talented cast.
Performances were phenomenal, yes, casting was great, yeah, but that’s it. The story itself felt completely aimless and blind, and I lost my reason to keep watching because performances aren’t everything.
Charlie Aiken: Oh… oh… I got a big bite of fear! And it never tasted so good!