Although overall opinions of the film range from excellent to merely passable, the overarching critique seems to be the same: it seems that August: Osage County might have learned a thing or two from last year’s stage-to-screen partial misfire, Les Miserables. Like Les Mis, August: Osage County is an adaptation of a Tony Award-winning play that typically runs about three hours in length here pared down to a more cinema-friendly two, and like Les Mis, most of its issues stem either from trouble moving into the new medium or difficulty compressing the story. Although the story centers on Meryl Streep’s Violet Weston, there are a lot of characters to deal with here, and played by a host of accomplished actors to boot. Individual performances, especially those of Streep and Julia Roberts, are being praised widely, with most of the cast seeming to get a moment or two to shine somewhere. But by most accounts, there’s some magic missing. There seems to be an overabundance of material to work with, but to varying degrees of vehemence critics are echoing HitFix’s Drew McWeeny’s sentiment “the film feels overstuffed, like director John Wells isn’t sure how to squeeze the most out of these moments,” and that the individual scenes have trouble adding up to something meaningful. That said, audience reaction at the TIFF premier was quite positive, and this will still be one to keep an eye on come December.
For more on August: Osage County, see our previous coverage.
See what audiences and critics are saying about more festival premiers here.