‘August: Osage County’: Meryl Streep Leads the Yammering Ensemble
Tracy Letts won the Pulitzer Prize for his play August: Osage County, and he has written the screenplay for this film. If you seek a useful yardstick for the distance between stage and screen, this movie provides one: Here is a writer adapting his own work for the movies, and there is almost no evidence of how this display of canned yammering could possibly have won a high literary honor.
Admittedly, if you imagine everything playing out on one set, with August?’s overlapping dramatic arcs and crafted one-liners creating an actors’ showcase, the thing could work as a dramatic night in the theater. But open all that up to the outdoors, dissipate the pressure-cooker structure with lapses in time, and let director John Wells add a sentimental spirit to the proceedings, and you’ve got one middling movie.