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Total Film | August: Osage County Review

TF:

Every gong season gives us moments to relish, and 2014 is no exception. Case in point? Julia Roberts telling Meryl Streep to “Eat the fish, bitch!” in this juicy slice of Southern melodrama which sees an all-star cast tear strips off each other on the occasion of a funeral-mandated family reunion.

It’s a magnificent set-piece, a broiling banquet of bad manners that has Violet [Streep] hurl malicious barbs at everyone around her. (“Nobody slips anything by me!” she glowers.)

Yet it’s one that comes at a price, there being little else to match its venomous ferocity. The acting obviously compensates, with Margo Martindale exceptional as Violet’s vindictive sister, Chris Cooper superb as her husband, and Julianne Nicholson affecting as the deluded sibling still cradling hopes of happiness.

Even in this tight-knit ensemble, though, there are some weak links: Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch stick out like sore thumbs with their underwritten characters and even dodgier accents.

A:OC, then, is a movie with failings as well as strengths. But when it’s good, as it often is, it’s very fine indeed.

This classy adap of a much-garlanded stage play will appeal to discerning audiences who can tolerate unpleasant characters with potty mouths if they're played by Oscar winners.

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