The Weston family are brought back together when their father disappears, having to deal with their drug addicted mother who is suffering from cancer. An extremely dysfunctional family, by the end you will be shocked by how many ways!
Now this is a film I feel like I have been waiting for forever, since it was announced Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts would be taking on the key roles. (Two of my favourite actresses) Plus I remember the play winning at the Tony Awards the year I got to attend as well, so I knew the play was a big hit on Broadway. You can tell the film is based on a play as it does have a lot of dialogue, and this creates fantastic performances all round for each member of the cast.
Violet Weston has mouth cancer and has had a long-term problem with taking all types of pills. Ivy is one of the three daughters who has stayed close by her parents home and been around everything more of the time. It quickly shows that Barbara seems to be the favourite and can really challenge her mother and try getting her straight. But she has her own problems as her marriage has fallen apart and her teenage daughter Jean is rebelling against pretty much everything.
The film starts with Beverly explaining to a new maid/house worker Johnna about his wife and that he does like to drink. It was only a few days after hiring her that he disappears. It was never going to end well for him at all and that is what brings the whole family back for the funeral. Those that make it on time.
Violet is very cruel towards her family members, but she sticks up for herself claiming that she is just truth telling, which is what she does but that doesn’t mean it hurts them any less. Nothing slips by her, she knows everything and works everything out sometimes it’s not even clear how she manages to work all of this out. The scene around the dinner table really is one of the best in the film, no one is safe from Violet and your not sure who she is going to lay into next.
Mattie Fae, Violet’s sister is equally as cruel especially towards her son “Little” Charles, she really does destroy him with her words. He is not the most confident of men and a good performance from Benedict Cumberbatch to show how awkward he is. This obviously causes a lot of friction between Mattie Fae and her husband Charlie (played by the brilliant Chris Cooper).
It does have many twists and turns in the story some of which will totally shock you, or maybe that should be one key moment that will really shock you. As that is how I felt, I am obviously not going to spoil that! But I have to admit I would never have expected that at all, it really does throw things into a totally different level of how dysfunctional this family is!
Karen seems to be the youngest of the sisters and totally on a different planet when she first comes back with her fiancé Steve. Who is very creepy towards Jean and that certainly does not end well at all. It just shows how desperate she was to actually leave with him, something that makes no sense at all.
I am a huge Julia Roberts fan which I am sure you will already know if you are a regular reader of my blog. I was hoping for a good performance in this one but I have to admit that I was blown away and it is possibly one of her best performances ever. She shows so much emotion and the way she talks to her mother Meryl Streep to keep her in place is fantastic. They shared amazing on screen chemistry and they both deserve there nominations for the up and coming Oscars! I even think they deserve to win from the other performances I have also seen (blog post coming about that very soon).
I guess the film will also make you grateful that your family is pretty normal and not that bad when watching this bunch, as they destroy each other with words and actions. It really is a fantastic watch and the scenes in between all of the talking reminding you of how hot it is in Oklahoma in the summer this is all going on. The heat making them extra crazy!
Meryl Streep as usual puts in a brilliant performance but I really do think this is the best one she has done in recent years. She will blow you away with how crazy she is and the way she delivers some of the one liners is just perfect. I think the fact that Julia Roberts is then given the task to come up against her really would make or break the film, and luckily her performance is just as good if not better and creates incredible scenes.
I am probably slightly biased in this review but I really did enjoy watching all of the drama unfold throughout the film and found it to keep you gripped especially with the revelations and everything going on! It really is worth a watch for the Streep/Roberts combination!!!