Published January 15th, 2014
"August: Osage County"
By Derek Zemrak
Photos provided
John Wells is a six-time Emmy Award winner who produced and wrote great television shows including "ER," "The West Wing" and "Southland," and is the director of "August: Osage County," that garnered a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for author Tracy Letts. Letts also wrote the screenplay, which is produced by Hollywood heavyweights George Clooney and Harvey Weinstein.
This "dramedy" - drama/comedy - revolves around Vi Weston, the pill-popping and f-word using matriarch of a dysfunctional Oklahoma plains family. She is played by the incredible 17-time Oscar nominee and three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep. Streep is a true chameleon - from her role in "The Deer Hunter" to her role as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," which won her an Oscar last year - once again Streep pulls off magic and will receive her record breaking 18th Oscar nomination. A family crisis reunites the Weston family and they all must deal with their deeply divided lives. Oscar winner Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovich") delivers what I believe is the best performance of her career, portraying Vi Weston's bitter and hostile daughter, Barbara. The amazing ensemble also includes Oscar winner Chris Cooper ("Adaptation"); Ewan McGregor ("Moulin Rouge!"), Margo Martndale ("Dead Man Walking"), and Oscar nominees Sam Shepard ("The Right Stuff"), Juliette Lewis ("Cape Fear"), Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine") and Golden Globe nominee Benedict Cumberbatch ("Sherlock"). The performances of the entire cast are outstanding.
"August: Osage County" is bitterly funny in a few scenes but overall it is a dramatic piece. It does feel stagy at times - especially inside the house - and it is Julia Roberts who pulls the scenes back into being a motion picture.
"August: Osage County" is rated R for language, alcohol and drug use, sexual content and violence.
Derek Zemrak is a film critic, film producer and founder of the California Independent Film Festival. You can follow Derek on Twitter @zemrak for the latest Hollywood news. Derek can be heard every Friday on KAHI 950AM on the Poppoff Show.

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