August: Osage County ★★★

August: Osage County aka a family comes together, and a lot of shit happens.

Originally a Tony-winning play, John Wells' film revival of August: Osage County fails on many parts, especially with such potential, stemming from its collaboration of world-class actors and a original, well-written play in its hands.

Having Letts adapt his play onto the screen is Wells' first mistake, resulting in the film being dreadfully overlong and uneven. The simple fact is, we are watching a play being filmed as a movie. Even a film amateur as myself understands the different technical mediums essential to transition a stage play to the screen -- having melodramatic scenes are great for drama/conflict, but when it becomes filled with overdrawn, repetitive contrivances of yelling and long monologues -- it just does not work.

Letts attempts to squeeze everything in his play to the screen, and although the performances are great at times, he isn't able to reign in their screaming, yelling Acting. The problem with such a large ensemble is that it can't find enough time to create meaningful arcs about all its characters, and there feels like there are so many unaddressed issues, even towards the end of the film. The screenplay gives opportunist moments for Streep and Roberts to shine, but ultimately- it is more Roberts, who plays the daughter of Streep's character - who impresses. Besides the obvious two, the hidden underdog of Julianne Nicholson proves that it doesn't take loud yelling in accents, to warrant a good acting performance.

It really does not help that Wells' decided to shoot this movie with a boring, (brown) dark palette and medium shots for the majority of the film's running time. It understand the ~bleakness~ if anything that he wants to convey, but really.... it would have been great if it (at least) looked nice.

Also: what was that final scene? I would have much preferred to see the film cut to the second last scene with Violet/caregiver.

August: Osage County has clearly originated from a phenomenal and well-renowned play, but is unfortunately and wrongly adapted for film. Meh. I would have loved to see this as a play.

Debbie liked these reviews

All