A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfun... Read allA look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.
This play is set in an Oklahoma town on one warm summer. Violet Wetson (Meryl Streep) reunites with her three willful daughters, Barbara (Julia Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) when there was a death in the family. Fireworks fly when family secrets are revealed as mother and daughters clash.
Meryl Streep is again in top form here as a dysfunctional wife and mother made worse by her dependency on drugs given for her cancer. This role has Oscar written all over it, and Ms. Streep again grabs this bull by the horns. She is one scary virago here, one you would not want to meet in real life. To even imagine someone like her to be your mother is unthinkable.
Julia Roberts plays the eldest daughter Barbara with restraint until that post-funeral lunch when her top blows up and all hell breaks loose. We see a mature and gritty Julia here, going full circle from her first Oscar nomination with another family-oriented play turned film "Steel Magnolias." Ewan McGregor plays her husband Bill who loves her but can't stand her. Abigail Breslin plays her 14-year old daughter Jean, who is trying to grow up faster than she should.
Juliette Lewis plays another quirky and flighty character here. It seems only these types of roles fit her unusually unique face. Her Karen brings home a much-older fiancé Steve (Dermot Mulroney) with fast sports car and stash of pot.
Julianne Nicholson plays the daughter who stayed home to take care of her parents, Ivy. It seems she has been around for a long time, but this is the first film that I have taken notice of her. Her character has secret dreams and desires that could not take off because she is trapped in her situation in life, and Nicholson portrays that pain and frustration very well.
We will also meet Violet's fussy and nosy sister Mattie Fay, played by Margo Martindale. Her husband Charles is played by Chris Cooper, who is quietly dignified through most the film, until he had his own confrontation scene with his wife. Their son shy and insecure "Little" Charles is sensitively played by Benjamin Cumberbatch. This 2013 has really been a big debut year for Cumberbatch with diverse roles in big films like "Star Trek In Darkness", "12 Years a Slave", now this one.
This may not be for all because of the depressing family squabbling going on for two hours. However, I thought the dialogues were really darkly witty in their bitterness and spite. The main reason to watch this film though would be the masterclass in ensemble acting. Seeing all these actors interact together enhancing each other's performances is the big positive in watching a film like this.
- Jan 10, 2014