admin On dicembre - 11 - 2013

by Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Tracy Lett’s dark comedy, winner of 2008’s Pulitzer Prize, after being performed in Chicago, on Broadway, in London’s Nation Theatre, finally lands on screen.

‘August: Osage County’ is the story of the Weston family. It is set in Oklahoma (Osage County) during August. The drama takes hold when Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) vanishes. He is a tired poet with a wife (Meryl Streep), who suffers from mouth cancer and has developed addiction to drugs. Beverly decides to hire a live-in cook and caregiver for Violet, his disappearance motivates the family to come together to look for him but only to find a few days later that he has committed suicide. Violet and Beverly's daughters, Barbara (Julia Roberts) and Karen (Juliette Lewis), along with Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) who lives in the house, come to their father’s funeral and a series of conflicts ensue over the next several days.

Director John Wells turns the pièce’s dark humour into a something that straddles between contemporary family conflicts and the collisions found in the great theatre repertoires. The first hint is the parallelism between the three Weston siblings and Chekhov’s three sisters. The movie adaptation though, feels slightly forced into the ideal showcase for Streep’s meticulous overplaying. Nevertheless the A-list actors (Julia Roberts, Julianne Nicholson, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Ewan McGregor) all nail their roles and manage to portray the pain and intention of their characters with wit and turmoil.

This is the third play written by Tracy Letts that reaches the big screen, after William Friedkin’s adaptations of ‘Bug,’ in 2006 and ‘Killer Joe,’ in 2011, where once again the ugly, violent characters, nutty as fruitcake, come across as compellingly vulnerable and conquer the audience’s benevolence.


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