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August: Osage County

Director:  John Wells
Year Released:  2013
Rating:  3.0

SparkNotes version of Tracy Letts' masterpiece of family dysfunction (and secrets! and lies!) shows how all the problems of the Weston clan come to light following the suicide of the patriarch Bev (Sam Shepard) and how matriarch Violet (Meryl Streep) struggles to function due to her pill addiction. Letts is assigned the duty of truncating his own work, paring down the roughly 3 1/2 hour stage version into a Hollywood-friendly two hour nugget - though it loses the sprawling, very intricate nature of the stage version (which I was fortunate enough to see - and be amazed by - in New York City), the bones are still there (and so is the wit). Helping things along: Streep, of course. Chris Cooper holds his own.

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