“August: Osage County” premiered at the AFI Fest on Friday. While Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts were absent, producers George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and most of the ensemble players attended the festival. The reviews so far focus on the film’s Oscar buzz (and how Meryl and Julia should both be considered as co-leads), but here are some writings that focus on the film. “August: Osage County” releases US theaters on December 25, 2013.

Bob Strauss writes for the Los Angeles Daily News: “All of Streep’s formidable technique, thunderous power and her lightning bolt precise emotional range is deployed in long, delectably disturbing doses as the raging matriarch of a deeply dysfunctional Oklahoma clan. Addicted to painkillers and a life’s worth of resentments, Violet also suffers from mouth cancer — and boy, does she take every advantage of that metaphor she can. The woman says the most awful things to her children, their significant others and briefly-glimpsed husband (Sam Shepard). “I’m just telling the truth” is this mad grandma’s — who could eat Johnny Knoxville for lunch — repeated refrain. The most infuriating, as well as interesting, thing about Violet is that she’s right; nasty and narcotized as her statements can be, they draw real blood because they’re so honest. And so funny.” The Wrap praised Margo Martindale and wrote, “to get the most enjoyment out of “August,” it’s best to think of it less as an adaptation of a Tony Award– and Pulitzer Prize-winning play or as a screen adaptation of playwright Tracy Letts and more like an all-star opportunity for bad behavior, shocking revelations and even a cat fight.”