Maddy’s Movies: “August: Osage County” may not be for every college student, but it will remind everyone of their own family

Maddy Mesa

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Looks like Meryl Streep is getting another Oscar!

Ok, so this may not be the best movie to see for college students. But if you’re getting tired of your family being too involved in your adult college life or think it’s a mad house every time you go home for break, this movie will prove your family isn’t so bad. Hopefully.

The star studded cast of “August: Osage County,” based on Tracy Letts’ play of the same name, is the drive behind this emotional-packed movie.

Set in Osage County, Oklahoma, once famous poet Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) tells newly hired caregiver Johnna (Misty Upham) about his alcoholism and his cancer-stricken wife Violet’s (Streep) addiction to pills.

Days later, after Beverly goes missing, the Weston daughters, along with their own personal baggage, travel to the hot flat plain of Oklahoma to support Violet in her time of need. When Beverly’s body is found after an apparent suicide, the Westons and the Aikens, Violet’s sister Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale) and her family, all come together for one crazy, sad, drugged-out reunion.

To say every actor in this film did a great job would be the understatement of the year.

Streep is all over the place as Violet. She’s balding, can’t walk straight, can’t even talk or form coherent sentences and, when she’s sober enough to say something, it’s usually to yell insults at her family members or bring up ugly situations everyone else would rather move on from.

Julia Roberts as eldest daughter (and Brevely’s “favorite”) Barbara Weston is like nothing I have ever seen before. Life in this “mad house” has made her cynical and distant from her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) and she has no problem cursing at her mother to “eat the fucking fish, bitch.”

Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis as Barbara’s younger sisters Ivy and Karen (respectively) don’t get much love from their mother or each other. What I thought was poor acting on their part as sisters was really just the effect this life had on the girls. Ivy even says she doesn’t feel a connection with her sisters.

When a loved one passes away, family members usually remember the good times and share fond memories they had.

Not so much for the Weston sisters.

As the movie progresses, and secrets escape in the three story house, it’s clear to see why Barbara, Ivy and Karen all decided to “get the hell out of dodge.”

And as you see the relationship between mother and daughter with Streep and Roberts, you hope the same fate won’t befall Barbara and her daughter, Jean (Abigail Breslin).

It looks like crazy is a gene passed on, but maybe it gets a little less crazy with each generation.

The unsung hero of the movie is Misty Upham’s Johnna. She comes into the house just days before Beverly goes missing and stays even as plates are thrown, pills are dumped down the toilet and screaming matches ensue.

I give “August: Osage County” three out of four fields of grain. It’s not a typical college movie, but it is funny. Funny in the way that anyone who’s been through an awkward family meal will recognize.

The rest of the cast is great, especially an American accented Benedict Cumberbatch, and dark plot twists will leave you appreciating your own family no matter how crazy you think they get.