After watching the Golden Globes ceremony on Monday, I was inspired to go to the movies yesterday. Since only one of the multi-nominated films was showing at my cinema at the right time, I didn't even have to make a choice of what to see.
August: Osage County. Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, with a side of Ewen McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch and Dermot Mulrooney. How could I go wrong?
Well, okay, in all fairness I didn't fall asleep. (Hard to with all the shouting.) I didn't walk out. (I needed to know how it would end.) The acting performances were full-on amazing (if sometimes I little TOO full-on.) But I had expectations and those high expectations were not met.
1. I go to the movies seeking entertainment. That doesn't have to include laughs, doesn't have to be action driven, doesn't have to feature romance and pretty people. In fact, my preference is for character-driven drama. This story should have fit like a glove, yet I didn't leave the theatre feeling entertained.
2. I left the theatre feeling disappointed -- no, that word is not strong enough. I felt disillusioned, down, borderline depressed. The ending is...ambiguous. I guess it could have suggested that one character was making the right choice and heading in the right direction, but I could not see a satisfying ending for any of these deeply flawed people.
3. The one sister (Ivy) who seemed to be forging a happy future had that rug pulled from under her in a late plot twist which was...wow. Just wow. (Did I nod off momentarily and miss the foreshadowing?)
4. I won't be watching again to see if I missed the subtleties that foreshadowed some of the late big reveals, although I suspect I did. The thing is, there didn't appear to be much subtlety in the dialogue or the performances. There wasn't much in the way of quiet moments. There was very little light shining through the gloom. There were moments of LOL dark humour -- I think those are all in the trailer! -- but I am truly baffled by the Golden Globes categorising this as a comedy. I mean REALLY??????
5. Biggest expectation not met: this is not a comedy.
6. The screenplay is, I gather, a faithful adaptation of a play (same writer) and it showed. It was all about the words, the speechifying, the story unfolding dramatic revelation by shouty dramatic revelation.
7. But when it comes down to it, I just didn't like these people. Even as I came to understand the motivation, the backstory, I still didn't like them...except for Ivy who deserved a better deal. And in my entertainment, in stories I watch or read, I do want to like somebody and to see people get the ending they deserve.
So, has anyone else seen August: Osage County? Perhaps you can present the positives and sell this as a must-see movie deserving of the award nominations it is garnering. Perhaps you can even convince me to see it again to catch the subtleties I missed.
If not this A:OC, have you seen another movie over the holidays that you can recommend? (I loved Catching Fire, BTW, and enjoyed About Time, which are the only other two I've seen this summer.)