August: Osage County by Tracy Letts
About 3 years ago, I gave up my Netflix DVD subscription and switched to streaming-only. The Chancellor, good man, kept his up, even if it didn’t get a lot more usage than mine (yes, we’re a married couple with separate streaming accounts. It’s like our bookshelves—to be successfully married, not all your items should get married…but that’s another story). The point is, The Chancellor had forgotten what was on his list, and when he FINALLY got through Saving Private Ryan (which, in a word: eh. Spielberg is all about that pathos), he had no idea what was coming next. It ended up being August: Osage County. Which: wow. That got cray-cray real fast. I am not a Julia Roberts fan, but she definitely brought her A-game to the film. When I heard that it was based on a play, I was eager to read it. And here we are.
If you have not seen Meryl Streep ripping off her wig in chain-smoking matriarchal delight, here is the summary: a Southern patriarch goes missing, and the family gets together. Old tensions and family secrets come to the fore, amidst a backdrop of stifling heat [sidenote: this is why I put up with long winters in the northern Midwest. I went to Texas to see my grandparents in the summer, and GOOD GOD, WHY IS IT SO HOT? I do not do extreme heat.] Family dysfunction at its finest and worst is on display in this family drama.
I’ve read Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and this takes it to the next level. I won’t give anything away, but there are parts of the play that receive a bit more detail, and others that just do better with the medium of film. I would recommend reading the play AND watching the film if you can, but if not, you should definitely check the film out. Lots of high profile people put on their best Southern draaaaawwls. And nothing beats a Meryl eye roll.