Jan 15, 2014

At The Movies

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.)


  1. Oh, dear, I just worked out the last movie I went to see. It was Midnight in Paris, back in…um, 2011…and before that it was the last of the Lord of the Ring films. Note to self: go see a movie!

    You know what I do want to see, Bron? Austenland. That said, I have a feeling it's been and gone and I missed it. However, there is always the bright and shiny "New Release" section at the DVD store. Really wanted to catch About Time too (glad to have your recommendation!). When the next book is done I may be having a big movie spending spree. :-)

    1. Oh, I loved Midnight in Paris (so magical!) so that was a good one to count as your last movie outing. I must admit that I don't watch movies much at home; I love the outing of "going to the movies" even though I often go alone. Something about that big screen experience...

      Austenland. Hmm. If that's been and gone then I missed it to!

  2. No, Bronwyn, haven't seen this one. and like Michelle, it has been a while since I went to the movies. But there are a couple coming up I'm hoping to get to.
    Isn't it a pain when you make the effort to go to the movies only to find it is not what you were hoping for. I laughed that you had to stay and see the finish. That's like reading a book that's not really gripping and yet you need to find out what happens.

  3. It doesn't sound like it from this post, but I'm actually pretty easy to please at the movies. Give me a lovely comfy seat in an air-conditioned theatre, a tub of popcorn and a choc-top, and I'm in heaven. So, yeah, I usually don't feel so disappointed. But I also usually stay until the end.

  4. OMG Bron - have seen it! Prepare for a long rant! Deep breath...okay....

    I too went and saw this movie for all the reasons you did. Stellar cast. I gathered from the shorts that the family was kind of dysfunctional but that's okay - I like those films usually cos I like the ironic humour that comes from them not to mention the fact that it makes me and the nuts in my family tree feel normal. And hello, Little Miss Sunshine? One of my fav movies ever and that family was well... dyfunctional with a capital D.

    But OH MY DEAR LORD. These people were HORRIBLE! The mother was a bitter old crone who thought nothing of being a complete and utter nasty bitch to her CHILDREN, no thoughts to how her poison might affect them, completely unlikeable self-involved hag. I cant believe the husband lasted 50 years of marriage with her, I'd have gone missing looooong before! I can definitely see why he was an alcoholic!

    Nobody, NOBODY was normal. Everyone from the "adult" children to the aunt who was a complete bitch to her child too, to the sister's skeevy boyfriend and the "Indian" housekeeper were screwed up.

    And you're so right about poor, Ivy. That was just an awful thing to do to her - heinously awful. Why? WHY WHY WHY did they have to do that to her? Who would really care in the end, who out of the family would even have to know? Why couldn't they have let her snatch her one chance at happiness?

    I saw it with my sister (the movie was my suggestion!!) who kept muttering, for fucks sake and my 16 yo daughter who just looked really confused.I was so depressed by the end of it I felt like I needed to go and see another movie immediately to purge myself of those people. And now you say it was a play and the script was also written by the playwright, I get it!

    A comedy?? NOT in any universe!

    Like you I agree the acting was full on amazing - every one fully inhabited their roles but NO actors in the world could have made me love characters so completely and utterly unlikeable.

    So sorry, there are NO positives. Do NOT go and see it again. I only *wish* I'd fallen asleep so I didn't have any of those people in my head.

    I loved About Time and I've just been and seen Philomena and that was sooo good. Judy Dench as fabulous as ever!

    1. Oh, dear Lord, Amy, you've reminded me how intensely I disliked these people. You're absolutely right: I needed a comedy right after to purge my emotions. Philomena is still on so maybe I'll forge a time to go see.

      Totally agree on Little Miss Sunshine, one of my all-time favourites.

  5. Bron

    I don't go to the movies very much although I have been this summer hubby and I took 4 of our grandchildren to see Walking With Dinosours and I was not impressed with that movie either the kids enjoyed it but it didn't keep them engrossed either. The last movie I went to see before that was when the last Sherlock Holmes movie came out and I did love that one.

    Have Fun

    1. You are a tops grandie, Helen, taking them to the movies and sitting through a movie that's not that enjoyable. I've had a bit of a yen to see Frozen, actually, but will likely wait until it's on DVD or TV (and then not watch it, because that's what I do! LOL!)

      Totally enjoyed the Holmes movies. VERY entertaining.

  6. We were suppose to see it but it wasn't at either of two movie houses that have most movies so we saw Her - don't recommend it. Maybe the book is better. And I must be one of the few that didn't care for American Hustle. That one did put me to sleep. I loved Hunger Games!

  7. I have not seen that movie, but it certainly does sound like a disappointment.

  8. I'm so glad you wrote this review. I will definitely not see it now!! Sounds horrible.