TIFF 2013 Day 5: August: Osage County


Geez…I really neglected this blog, didn’t I?

While it’s probably been more than two weeks since TIFF ended, I’d like to rewind time and go back to Day 5 of TIFF. Not one to take a break after four days of movie watching, today was the day I decided to rush the highly-anticipated August: Osage County starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Abigail Breslin.

Directed by John Wells, this film takes a look at the lives of the Weston women, whose paths have separated until a family tragedy brings them back to their childhood home and to the mother who raised them. Backed by honcho film producer Harvey Weinstein, this film was obviously coming into the festival with a lot of momentum heading into the Oscar season.

With that said, I was left underwhelmed by the movie. While I can say that the acting was top-notch throughout (Roberts and Streep are UNTOUCHABLE), I’m not sure if the story played well on screen. Originally a play that has won a Pulitzer Prize and several Tony Awards, perhaps it would have been better to just see the story unfold on stage. With most of the movie taking place in an Oklahoma home (not to mention a dinner scene that lasted about 20 minutes), it was a bit hard to stay focused.

What I did like however, was the humour and the dark surprises that came as the movie progressed. Surrounding a dysfunctional family that just can’t seem to get along, I can say that the movie really helps me put my life in perspective in terms of being happier and more grateful for the things I have.

I’m not sure if there was any character I liked in the movie. But if I had to choose, it would probably be Little Charles (Cumberbatch) and Ivy (played by a fantastic Julianne Nicholson), who play cousins who engage in a romantic relationship with each other. Despite the  incest that happens between them, they seemed like the only happy people in the movie. But now that I think about it, Little Charles’ relationship with his father (Chris Cooper) was also one that I enjoyed. Accepting and proud at all times, Cooper’s older Charles Aiken is the epitome of what every father should be.

So would I recommend the film? For the performances, yes.

But if you’re looking for something uplifting, this would not be the film for you. Although it was rather cool to watch the movie with the stars (despite a no-show from Meryl Streep who was sick with the flu), I left the theatre feeling pretty depressed.


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