Journal Express, Knoxville, IA


December 26, 2013

Movie Review: August: Osage County

Knoxville — If the holiday season makes you wonder about your family, “August: Osage County” will help put your mind at ease, with the reality that things can always be worse. 

The film is about an extraordinarily dysfunctional Oklahoma family reunited for the funeral of its patriarch. Sisters Barbara (Julia Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) are reunited, along with their mother, Violet (Meryl Streep) after years apart. We soon discover that Violet is a cancer patient, drug addict and has a wealth of mental/emotional issues, all of which come to a head at a family dinner. Meanwhile, each one of the daughters is fighting a battle on her own before coming together to deal with their mother.

This is an extremely uncomfortable movie to watch for many reasons. Streep is her usual, loud and commanding presence on screen, but amplified to the max with a character that has no sense of decency or boundaries. You will be shocked at how cruel she can be as Violet, so much so that when the points come in the movie, in which we could feel bad for her, we can't. She's that terrible a person. 

Roberts plays the dominant sister who verbally and physically confronts Violet. There's nothing really extraordinary about her performance, other than the fact she isn't smiling all the through, as usual. 

The cast is like an all-star generational gathering, with Streep, Roberts, Lewis and Abigail Breslin representing past eras and the future of leading women. On the male side of the cast, there is equal talent with Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney and Benedict Cumberbatch. 

For all of these reasons to be attracted to seeing the film, there are just as many to want to avoid it. You know from the moment Streep steps on to the screen that bad things are going to happen. Deep down you want to keep watching, in the hope that something good, or some resolution will occur to make it all worthwhile. As the credits roll, you are still waiting for these moments. 

I can't recommend this one. It's too sad, too loud, has too little humor for even a family drama and overall, it completely lacks heart. I'd avoid “August: Osage County” and may avoid Oklahoma from now on as well. 

Text Only
  • The Rules of the Road By Jill Pertler I do not consider myself an excellent driver. I am good, or maybe just okay - around a B-minus to a C-plus if I were giving out grades. I am not great at maneuvering into tight parking spaces or knowing when it is my turn at a four-wa

    March 21, 2014

  • Steve mug Creativity rules! I've noticed as a married man that there are times in our marriages when it is just nice to be right. Take for instance Monday night. By the time I got home from the council meeting, I was pretty hungry. I didn't grab anything to eat before my evenin

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Frankford mug Acute Temporary Comfort Rejection Syndrome By Phillip Frankford Acute Temporary Comfort Rejection Syndrome

    March 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shivvers pic 21st century overwhelm, beginning with shampoo I was in a hurry and needed only one more item at the grocery store. Shampoo. I wanted shampoo to wash my hair. But I found a hazard course - and couldn't remember how I got through the last time. What should I do? Would it be simple "anti-itch liqui

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Next time ... To the Editor: While surfing my Facebook page, I came across this message: "I Shall Continue To Do What I think Is Right Whether Anybody Likes It Or Not." -Harry S. Truman. After reading this quote, I decided to tell my experience. I was walking to m

    March 21, 2014

  • Protecting Iowa's children A topic that most Iowans prefer not to acknowledge nor discuss is human trafficking. However, it is a serious matter in our society that we can no longer afford to ignore. With the I-80 and I-35 corridors that crisscross our state - and the I-29 corr

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter: Disagrees with Shivvers To the Editor: I read, with interest, Ms. Shivvers' comments in her opinion piece "Another View-Breaking Bad in Iowa" in the Feb. 14, 2014, edition of the Knoxville Journal-Express. It is the first time I have heard today's agriculture compared to th

    March 6, 2014

  • Slices of Life: Things we should do more often By Jill Pertler Live. Love. Laugh. Stop and smell the roses. See the glass as half full. Shoot for the moon. There are the familiar (cliché) activities we know we should engage in more often. But, for those of us not wanting to be cliché, there are

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor-Bravo To the Editor: I'd like to take a moment and say, "Bravo!" to Charlotte Shivvers for her insightful column of February 14, "Another View - Breaking Bad in Iowa." Speaking truth to power happens rarely these days and when it does, it's cause for celeb

    February 27, 2014

  • Frankford mug Another Log on the Fire: Highs and Lows By Phillip Frankford I've heard it said that the mark of a good story teller is the ability to take the listener or reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions. He or she will abruptly lead the way from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Which service of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce do you believe is most beneficial for its membership?

Legislative lobbying
Promotional material publication
Educational programs for the community
     View Results