August: Osage County (2013)
Excited we were, my friend and I, to go and see what promised to be a rich and emotionally charged feast of ‘fucked up’ family dynamics portrayed by formidable and favoured actors. Unfortunately, our August trip to Osage County seemed heavy and humid, much like the Oklahoma weather they described, but the depth we desired left us wanting.
The actors – Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepherd, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper and more – did deliver artistic perfection, as we would have expected they would, and we certainly felt transported to the family home and the drama that ensued. The issue was more in the likability of the characters, and how the darkness of the film offered us no silver lining, no obvious lesson to take away to make positive our cinematic experience. We were just left withan unsettled dissatisfaction, a hopelessness, that wasn’t so easy to shift.
I guess it is all comes down to expectation. The trailer seemed to pull out the few comical aspects of the film, touted as ‘dark, hilarious and deeply touching’, which for me was misleading. I thought it would dispense a mix of depth and delving with a subtle helping of irony,but instead the film took a deep dive into darkness and the lighter tones were few and far between, bringing little Sunday afternoon relief from the heat.
Perhaps the film transmitted a parallel process. Each character in the family almost definitely felt the hopelessness we did, living the lives they were. So in that way, the film conveyed its message profoundly. And if I had had that expectation, then perhaps I would have felt less disappointment. And that clearly is my personal lesson to learn from Osage County.
Rowena J Ronson