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  September 10th, 2013       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

The bad news first: Meryl Streep was a no-show at yesterday’s world-premiere of “August: Osage County” at the Toronto International Film Festival. But there are two good news as well. First, the Weinstein Company has put Meryl back in the Best Actress Oscar race (she was previously mentioned to be considered in the supporting category). And second, in the wake of TIFF’s reviews and news on the premiere, new pictures from the film have been released as well.

The reviews range from positive to mixed, but so far everyone seems to agree on Meryl mastering another meaty role. A selection of reviews is below, with many thanks to Glenn for collecting them.

The Hollywood Reporter (September 20, 2013) David Rooney

As Vi, Streep is every bit as mercurial, ferocious and funny as one would expect. Slapping on a brunette wig over a sparse crop of gray when she can be bothered, she careens from needling attacks to sneaky insinuations, from drugged-out incoherence to puddles of self-pity, often punctuating those shifts with a vulgar snort of a laugh. However, like her work in another recent screen adaptation of a Broadway hit, Doubt, she hits all her marks with brilliant technique but brings no element of surprise. As good as Streep is, the chewy part actually might have benefited from a left-field casting choice.

The Guardian (September 10, 2013) Catherine Shoard

Violet is a queen bitch with only the tiniest of chinks, a hybrid of Streep’s imperious Thatcher, Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives and, in cuddlier moments, Ricky Tomlinson in The Royle Family. Yet for all the sparks, the character can’t quite catch fire in these conditions. Such southern fried frankness might thrill those in the theatre but at the cinema we eat this sort of thing for breakfast.

The Telegraph (September 10, 2013) Tim Robey

A serial bully who fancies herself a “truth-teller”, Violet’s one of Streep’s most vituperative creations, pouring out a stream of invective so poisonous you wonder if the movie will ever quite recover, or succeed in topping it. With her badly chosen black wig and shades, she looks a little like Bob Dylan in a sour mood – there’s not much hair left beneath, because of the chemo she’s been taking to combat oral cancer, an ailment which seems the entirely natural product of letting your mouth emit a toxic spill every time you open it.

Cinema Blend (September 10, 2013) Sean O’Connell

Uniformly, the cast is fantastic, with Streep and Roberts serving as the expected scene-stealers. Streep, per usual, commands our attention. But it’s so much more than “here goes Streep again.” Every time she approaches a new role, she resembles a painter staring at a blank canvas, and she fills it with her inspiration. August is no different.

The Los Angeles Times (September 10, 2013) Glenn Whipp

“August: Osage County” might be the first movie to win more Oscar nominations than rave reviews. The movie, Tracy Letts’ adaptation of his Tony Award-winning play of family dysfunction and warfare, premiered Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival, earning an ovation from the audience (once the house lights were turned on to spotlight the cast members in attendance). Social media immediately lit up with Oscar buzz, which will happen when you have 17-time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep playing Violet, a pill-popping, cancer-stricken monster of a mother. The moment she stumbles on screen, face pale, hair shorn, voice slurred, you can picture academy members reflexively writing her name on their Oscar ballots. This is Acting.

The New York Post (September 10, 2013) Lou Lumenick

Meryl Streep rules as the mother of all dysfunctional screen moms in the long awaited screen adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play “August: Osage County,” which had its world premiere Monday night at the Toronto International Film Festival ahead of its U.S. opening on Christmas Day. Wearing a black fright wig that scarcely hides the ravages of her chemotherapy for mouth cancer, her matriarch Violet Weston — a profanity-spouting, boozing, pill-popping harridan — terrorizes her three daughters and other kin gathered in her crumbling Oklahoma mansion for the funeral supper following the burial of her long-suffering, alcoholic poet husband (Sam Shepard, who puts in a beautiful cameo appearance at the beginning).

London Evening Standard (September 10, 2013) David Sexton

John Wells (E.R., The West Wing, Shameless) has filmed an adaptation of this powerful play by Letts himself with a stellar cast. Meryl Streep is Violet Weston, the drug-addled, cancer-stricken but still horribly acute and malevolent mother of the family, giving an all-out performance, slurring voice and twisting features, worthy of Elizabeth Taylor in her heyday, if not a nightmarish Edith Evans. Sometimes you think of a crazed Mrs T too. It’s all too easy to imagine this monster being diced up into telling little clips in the awards season.




  • Nancy

    I think it’s something about a woman being excellent at what she does that causes society, people, critics to begin to dislike her. “Oh no not her again!” She is that great an actor that she is always in the running. Meryl makes films that force people to listen and think and feel uncomfortable. She usually plays big important roles, the heavy stuff. When you’re number one and everyone goes around saying how great you are people look for flaws in everything you say or do and find fault in even the smallest things. She sets the bar very high for herself, gives it everything she has in each role she takes on. Although there is no documented evidence of this, sometimes even she might not make the mark. She is after all just human.
    But people in the know like Julia Roberts and Chris Cooper and many others only have great things to say about her performance(s) and her as a person. So the haters can stuff it, I’m looking forward to seeing this film and the others in production now and far into the future. Although I was also disappointed she didn’t make it to TIFF I hope she is well and healthy and will come to visit another time, maybe next year.

  • Harry

    I totally feel you Sonja! I think critics are getting tired of praising Meryl and some of them are trying soooooo hard to criticize her performance like she has no element of surprise, she is so technical, her performance goes for big over-the-top acting rather than nuance and all that bulls**t. I’m sick of hearing those. Yes f*ck all those crazy critics!

  • Sonja

    Well, some critical words on Meryl taking this high prestige role are a bit unfair. Like of course you do NOT turn down that role when it’s presented to you. Otherwise you’re stupid.
    And then she’s good. Most reviews still says she hits it out of the park, like expected. Apparently that also seems to be negative to some critics, like of course she’s good, but what now? It’s baity as hell. And it’s an over-the-top character, so of course there is a lot of shouting, plate smashing and so on.
    I think “Streep fatigue” sets in, because nearly all of her last movies were connected with the “O” word. Yeah, burn the witch because she’s so good.
    Sorry for sounding a bit aggressive, but that’s the sense I get and it doesn’t seem fair to me.
    *sigh* Well in all honesty I was just hoping for something better for A:OC, especially since so many people still disliked TIL and/or Meryl’s win. I’m still glad my feeling was right that time: that TIL was her best chance.
    Though I can’t help but wonder if the reviews were better for her if she had lost.
    But we’ll never know.
    In the end…. I’m sure I will love A:OC. F*ck critics and everything.

  • Isabel

    I was sure Meryl was gonna be the lead,

  • Laura

    Unfortunately Meryl was not at the press conference; I would have really loved to hear her thoughts on the film, but I guess there will be plenty of time for that when the film is properly released! Get well soon Meryl!
    The rest of the cast (especially Julia Roberts, who seemed just as much a fan of Meryl as some of us ‘Streepers’) had such lovely comments about Meryl! Loved the part where she was speaking about how Meryl works harder than anyone else… Even though Meryl was not at the press conference, it’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already!
    I CANNOT wait for the film! It looks absolutely insane (in a good way, obviously), and Tracy Letts is an absolute genius anyway so the film was destined for greatness and then adding MERYL STREEP, JULIA ROBERTS et al to the mix, we have GOLD!

  • Eva

    Called it!
    I was so mad when I read that Meryl was put into the supporting actress category, but I knew once the critics saw AOC at the TIFF, they were going to immediately switch her back to lead actress
    fingers crossed for Oscar #4!

    Love ya Meryl!

  • Holly

    Her health comes first, and I bear ZERO grudge & God knows I would rather have her happy & healthy than anything else but I am SO completely gutted that she wasn’t able to attend. I paid $400 for a ticket (scalpers…) & I’m just kind of completely shattered. She rarely if ever comes to Toronto, and now I can’t afford to go anywhere else. Feeling very foolish…

  • MARIANA

    we’ll have to wait until December to have the important Premiere with the only one, the absolute leading role’s actress and light of the movie!! but we’ll do it!! great!!

  • Emy Liza Perez

    A best actress category indeed for meryl…she’s the epitome of the movie…

    Sadly, she was not at the press conference , coz when she was there, i believed the movie will be profoundly/elaboratively be relayed to its audience of how good to watch it on a big screen and go home learning the importance of a family.

  • Harry

    I was kind of expecting lukewarm mixed reviews for the film. I hope it gets a bit better reviews when it is wide released. I HATE how some critics keep implying that Meryl performance is so technical. But I am glad that some critics are raving about Meryl performance and that Meryl is put back to best actress category where she belongs. I secretly hope that they will do a bit more editing before wide release to get better reviews.
    But whatever the review is, I will leave an open mind to go see it. I SIMPLY CANNOT WAIT!